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Busy season expected this year at Lake Metigoshe State Park

Busy season expected

LAKE METIGOSHE – Some come for on the water recreation. Some come for a get-away in the midst of the scenic beauty of the Turtle Mountains. Some for the fishing and friends.

No matter what the reason, people know that their expectations are usually realized at Lake Metigoshe State Park.

Situated on the shores of Lake Metigoshe, in the Turtle Mountains north of Bottineau, Lake Metigoshe State Park is preparing for what is expected to be a very busy summer. Not surprisingly, North Dakota State Parks experienced a big increase in visitation last year. One of the reasons why was the coronavirus pandemic that left people clamoring to find outlets from social distancing and isolation.

“People really turned to the outdoors. Across all the state parks visitation and camping was up,” said Amy Schimetz, park interpreter. “We have been selling more annual and daily passes, renting more canoes and kayaks, really great to see. We anticipate another very busy summer.”

Many homes line the shores of Lake Metigoshe, many of which are occupied year-round. Much of the shoreline, but not all. Lake Metigoshe State Park has been operating on the water’s edge for many years. The park boasts an excellent boat ramp and dock, swim beach, camping, rentals, and more.

Kim Fundingsland/MDN The Blue Heron yurt is a cozy and popular rental unit on the edge of School Section Lake at Lake Metigoshe State Park.

“We had a lot of new people, first timers, days and overnights, last summer,” said Schimetz. “There’s been a lot of new people checking things out. It’s pretty awesome to see.”

Based on visitation, they liked the experience and discovered what so many others have found wonderfully appealing about Lake Metigoshe and Lake Metigoshe State Park whether it be camping, hiking, fishing, or any other of a number of possibilities. With COVID-19 a concern in 2020, the park explored new ways for people to enjoy the outdoors.

“We took it on as a challenge last year and worked on things like self-guided adventures,” said Schimetz. “That was kind of a silver lining.”

Schimetz said people responded by utilizing the park’s extensive trail system, sometimes participating in scavenger hunts and other similar activities.

“We encouraged people to get outdoors, for families and couples to get out on the trails and explore the park,” explained Schimetz.

Kim Fundingsland/MDN The White Pelican cabin is one of several available for rent year-round at Lake Metigoshe State Park. The cabins are in high demand by visitors.

Lake Metigoshe State Park features many different trails of varying lengths, giving visitors a selection to suite their schedule or particular needs such as hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and even snowmobiling.

“What sets us apart from other state parks is our year-round usage,” said Schimetz. “We’re kind of known up here as a four-seasons playground. There’s something to offer year round.”

Now though, as the season changes to the warm summer months, it is the chance to be outdoors, near the water and immersed in scenery, that is the big appeal of Lake Metigoshe State Park. Visitors can choose from primitive, modern, group campsites or make a day trip. Five cabins are available for rent along with a spacious yurt. However, the rentals have become so popular that Schimetz advises potential renters to make their plans well in advance of their intended stay.

“We take reservations on cabins a year in advance,” remarked Schimetz.

The Birch and Oak picnic shelters at Lake Metigoshe State Park are popular for family reunions and gatherings of all sorts. The shelters each seat 48 people. A 100-person shelter, the Aspen, is also inside the park and available for rent.

Kim Fundingsland/MDN Thirty-nine primitive campsites are situated throughout Lake Metigoshe State Park in addition to 85 modern campsites and three group campsites.

The park can accommodate bigger events, year round, with two group dorms that each sleep 60 people. In addition, the park has a combination kitchen/dining hall that seats 140 people and is available for booking.

Lake Metigoshe State Park is currently under the direction of Interim Manager Chris Lee. Lee has been filling in for long-time park employee and Manager Bill Demming who retired April 1. His replacement, Eric Lang, is expected to arrive at the park in mid-May. Most recently, Lang was the manager at Cross Ranch State Park.

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