BELCOURT The grand opening for Belcourt's new Sky Chief Park in the Turtle Mountains will be July 1 through July 4.
"There will be kids' games with prizes, a horseshoe tournament, canoe races, volleyball, music, food, and paddle boats, kayaks, and a new water trampoline for swimmers," said Kade Ferris, director of natural resources. "The grand opening seeks to raise awareness of local tourism opportunities and to encourage healthy, family-friendly recreation."
The kickoff will be at noon today with camp setup and welcoming orientation by the tribal tourism division, followed by double feature movies in the park at 10 p.m.
Submitted Photos - - These images released by park officials highlight some of the amenities available at the new Sky Chief Park in Belcourt. The park is hosting grand opening events today through Monday.
On Saturday there will be kids games and activities all day in the park, along with music in the park, storytelling in the Black Duck tepee village, hiking and trail walking and a petting zoo. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. there will be a fishing derby for youth, adults and senior citizens, with prizes given for the biggest walleye for each age group.
On Sunday there will be worship services at 9 a.m. All day there will be water toys, paddle boats, swimming, water balloon volleyball and canoe races, with prizes given for various contests and games.
On Monday there will be a horseshoe tournament at noon, with prizes for the top three teams. At 1 p.m. there will be a Pow Wow Grand Entry at Rising Sun Village; and at 3 p.m. there will be a community picnic at the picnic shelter, dedication of camping areas and picnic shelter and a survey of tourism and outdoor recreation. Ferris said the new park offers a variety of recreation that should draw people to the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation.
"A visit to the Turtle Mountain area in Bottineau and Rolette counties will give you a unique learning experience about the Native American culture of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa," said Les Thomas, vice chair of the Turtle Mountain Tourism Association.
"With generous support from the Northwest Area Foundation, the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa injected approximately $800,000 to promote tourism on the Turtle Mountain Reservation," said Lyle Poitra, infrastructure specialist for the tribe's Pathways to Prosperity.
"The tribe adopted a Master Tourism Plan in 2009 that identified potential stakeholders and committee funds for the construction of Tourism amenities," he added. "The Tourism Project included: Sky Dancer RV Park, Anishinabe Cultural Center, the Ogimaa Giizhig (Chief of the Sky) Park, the Center of the Earth Cultural Center, St. Ann's Father's Lake, Turtle Mountain Roping Arena, Chippewa Downs, Sky Dancer Diamonds in the Sky Softball Complex, St. John ATV Park, Veterans Memorial Park, Turtle Mountain Heritage Center, Little Shell Pow-wow, and other partners committed toward enhancing their own particular tourism ventures on behalf of the tribe.
"The Tribe can capitalize on the ever-growing tourist trade in the state of North Dakota due to the beautiful landscape covered with trees, forestation and lakes," he said. "Local tribal people are ready and willing to work on the preservation and teaching the world about cultural heritage of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa."
Thomas said tourism in the Turtle Mountains has been a top priority for the tribe and for surrounding counties.
Because of the collaborative efforts and partnerships between the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, local entities, North Dakota State Tourism and national and international contacts, the area has seen an increase in tourism throughout the state of North Dakota, including the Turtle Mountain area. The Sky Dancer Hotel and Casino, the International Peace Gardens, the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa's Chip-pewa Downs Horseracing, Turtle Mountain Days, St. Ann's Days, Hawk Museum Days, Pierce County Fair, Bottineau County Fair, International Fiddlers Contest at Peace Gardens, St. John's Days, Dunseith Days, Rolla Ragtop Festival, Rolette Demo Derby, and many other events and amenities.
"It's all about economic development," Thomas said.
Ferris said among the draws of Sky Chief Park are fishing lakes such as Belcourt Lake, Gordon Lake, Wheaton Lake and Jarvis Lake, with walleye, northern perch, and bluegill stocked annually. Camping options includes RV hookups and pads, tent camping, tipis and cabins; swimming, canoe rentals, paddle boat rentals and kayak rentals; walking and hiking trails and canoeing.
For more information about the event, call the Turtle Mountain Tribal Tourism office at 477-2664.