Recap of KX Summer Road Trip to Garrison

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KX News hit the road on Friday for the first part of our Summer Road Trip — to the Walleye Capital of Garrison and Fort Stevenson State Park!

Brooke Williams, Becky Farr, Tom Schrader and Karassa Stinchcomb made the drive for the 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts to bring you the news live on location.

And just in case you missed it, here’s a recap of the stories we’ve shared from Garrison:

Fort Stevenson State Park is a popular destination for campers

Staying close to home for vacation was a big side effect of the pandemic. Families looking for ways to stay socially distanced while doing something fun.

One of the benefits of the beautiful summers here is camping.

We met with the park manager at Fort Stevenson State Park who says the park has become a summer destination.

“We are seeing a lot of North Dakota is recognizing that this is a place to go play on the weekends,” said Chad Trautman.

He says over the last decade, there’s been a big increase in campers.

And about 90 percent of those enjoying mother nature are North Dakotans.

To try and make this an all-in-one destination they offer rentals for different equipment — like canoes, pontoons, fishing boats and even bikes.

For the full story, click here.

90-year-old Fort Stevenson volunteer Ralph Sayler is ‘a true gem’

We met up with a volunteer who’s spent decades preserving the fort’s history for visitors.

“As you can see from his wealth of knowledge, he’s just really a true gem for us!” said Park Manager Chad Trautman.

Trautman is talking about volunteer Ralph Sayler.

He’s been involved with the Fort Stevenson Foundation for the last 30 years as an interpreter. And this 90-year-old certainly knows his stuff…with a little help from some props.

Sayler says he’s read every single book at the Interpretive Center. The most important one is the journal General Régis de Trobriand wrote.

To add a little something extra to everyone’s experience, Sayler taught himself how to play instruments that were played during the 1800s. He says knowing the history of the instrument is important to him.

For the full story, click here.

The history of Fort Stevenson State Park

The Fort Stevenson State Park you visit today isn’t the one that existed back in 1867.

In fact, if you were to stand where it was originally, you’d be 110 feet underwater.

“In 1867, the Army decided they needed a fort in this area. The troops came up from St. Louis on the steamboat and they started building the fort,” said volunteer Ralph Sayler.

Most everything at Fort Stevenson are replicas, including the cannons and guardhouse.

Artwork done by the first commander of the fort, General Régis de Trobriand, helped them recreate history.

But it isn’t just the hard facts he knows; he’s also a great storyteller.

Sayler says because this fort existed, 1,600 people are now able to call Garrison home.

“If the fort had not been here, there would be no Garrison Troopers. There would probably be no Garrison,” Sayler said.

For the full story, click here.

Hidden gems in Garrison

Getting people to visit Fort Stevenson State Park isn’t too difficult of a job; there’s plenty of stuff to do from camping to going out on the lake.

But getting visitors to explore Garrison and all it has to offer is a little more of a challenge.

We went to Garrison show you some hidden gems it has to offer.

Bree Diffely is the director of the Garrison Convention and Visitors Bureau. She says it’s the perfect place to walk around and relax.

“We’re a town of 1,700, I think, somewhere around there. So, you kind of have that quiet, serene way of being able to do things. A lot of friendly faces and it’s just a more laid-back, friendly, all-around good community,” said Diffely.

For the full story, click here.

Kites take over at Sky Fest in Fort Stevenson

It’s not a bird or a plane, instead…it’s kites taking over the skies at Fort Stevenson State Park! Earlier this week, the summer kick-off event was in full swing.

We were there to join in on the fun and learn a little history behind the whole thing.

“This festival has been going on for 28 years,” said Founder Deb Lenzen.

James Phillips and Pat Curtis are first-time visitors and let’s just say, they were in awe of the massive display in the sky.

But the festival is more than just a sky gazer though. Various vendors from food sales, kite rentals and even kite making are all a part of the fun!

To learn more about Sky Fest and to keep it in mind for future years, click here.

For the full story, click here.

An upgrade is coming to Fort Stevenson State Park to see how many people are visiting

Earlier this week, we told you how more and more people are spending their summers camping — including here at Fort Stevenson State Park.

We went to Garrison to see how state parks are getting an upgrade to find out just how many people are visiting.

State parks have always had a traffic counter. In the past, it was a sensor in the road that counted the cars entering.

But now, the new system has a camera posted at the entrance that reads the license plates. It will give more detailed information like how long they were in the park, where they’re from and if they’ve been to another one.

For the full story, click here.

KX Conversation: Fort Stevenson Park Manager Chad Trautman

In our June 4 edition of KX Conversation, we were joined by someone who knows Fort Stevenson State Park well.

Chad Trautman, the park manager, discussed summer kicking off in North Dakota and his expectations for the park.

We also touched on events going on in Garrison that people should know about.

For the full story, click here.

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