ND parks prepare for summer visitors

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Memorial Day weekend marks the start of a very busy summer.

The first summer holiday weekend is here, and Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park says some people are getting a head start this year.

“As far as Memorial weekend, the campground minus maybe one day for permanent sites, the campground is entirely full. A lot of people are coming Thursday night checking out Monday,” said Erik Dietrich, the Park Manager.

Fort Abraham Lincoln is close to Mandan, so it’s easy for travelers to get to. It’s also the oldest state park.

“Just the beauty of it. You go up to Blockhouse Hill and you see the whole Missouri River valley. You know, you have a huge whitetail deer population out here. The turkeys are roosting. Every now and again you’ll get some antelope flying out here. The pheasants out. The geese coming out of the river,” said Dietrich.

While people are ready to get out with their families and enjoy some summer nights, the Forrest Service wants people to take the necessary precautions.

“Be very sure that if you are looking to start a campfire it’s allowed and when you do make sure to keep it small. Make sure that your pets and children are supervised around it and then when you do want to extinguish it be sure to have a shovel and water nearby. We like to see the drown, stir, drown, feel method,” explained Beth Hill, the Outreach and Education Manager.

While this weekend is going to be a busy one for Fort Abraham Lincoln, Dietrich says there will be more than just camping going on this weekend.

The North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department says they’ve already seen 20,000 more visitors this spring than they did last spring — and they’re expecting those numbers to continue rising.

North Dakota is home to 13 state parks.

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