News & Events

ND - North Dakota State Parks Busier Than Years Past

North Dakota State Parks are seeing a lot of traffic, both in park visits and overnight campers. Ben Smith reports on the reason why park rangers are so busy. It's a busy year for North Dakota state parks. Park Rangers say people are coming from all over the country. A main driving force is the low cost for gas.. "You can go a lot further with two dollars versus four dollars," says Karen and David Hicks, Cross Ranch State Park Campers Karen and David Hicks have done a lot traveling over the last few years, recently they were in Florida with a bunch of other campers. "To get reservations, you have to schedule almost 12 months out, it's getting to be that way all across the country...I think things are picking up on the travel part of this," says Hicks They're currently staying at Cross Ranch State park which this year, has seen a lot of business.

"We have a ton of campers coming in, using our new sites, we're actually already 582 camper spots ahead from last year at this time," says Char Binstock, Cross Ranch State Park She says it's because Cross Ranch has newly-upgraded camping sites, as well as a new yurt.

Cross Ranch isn't alone, State Parks across North Dakota are seeing more business. Compared to 2015 which was a record-setting year, the amount of park visits and overnight campers are up about 5 percent. To explain that, we did have a very mild spring. We had a couple of months where we had a lot of visitation where you don't normally see that. March early April usually the snow and rains, people aren't out in the parks but this year we had a lot of people out camping already by that time. This year we didn't have that. He also credits the special events the department puts on for drawing in more crowds. Weixel says North Dakota state parks are seeing over a million visitors every year. North Dakota's National Parks have also been busier. As of June, Theodore Roosevelt National Park has seen a 30% increase in visitors compared to last year.