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Natural Areas of North Dakota

Lake Metigoshe State Park

GIF--Location of Natural Area


Dennis Disrud

Directions: From Bottineau, 14 miles north and east, the route marked along the highway.

Lake Metigoshe State Park is located in the heart of the Turtle Mountains. It was established in February of 1937 and has been expanded with improvements a number of times since then. Geologically, the area consists of stagnation moraine with numerous lakes and rolling hills. With the cessation of the most recent glacial advance some 10,000 years ago, stagnation of the glacial ice followed. Some ice remained for 3,000 years. The western part of the Turtle Mountains was opened for settlement in the 1880s. Prior to that period, native peoples such as Assiniboine, Cree and Chippewa occupied the area.

JPG--Lake Metigoshe

Birds and mammals abound in the area's complex of wetlands, lakes, and forests. Over 100 species of birds nest in the vicinity of Lake Metigoshe State Park with numerous additional species migrating and wandering through the area. Mammals frequenting the area include moose, elk, white-tailed deer, beavers, squirrels, snowshoe hares, raccoons, coyotes, red fox, woodchucks, muskrats, mink, and numerous species of small rodents.

Its forests are in a variety of successional stages, and dominated by oak and aspen with pockets of paper birch, green ash, American elm, balsam poplar, and willows. A highly diverse shrub and herbaceous understory lends charm to the area. Wetlands and lakes contain numerous wet meadow, emergent, and submergent plant species providing habitat for a highly diverse animal community.

JPG--Cross Country Skiing

Background Information: Brochures available on Lake Metigoshe State Park include: general park brochure, Turtle Mountains Bird Checklist, School Section Lake Canoe Trail brochure, and The Old Oak Trail brochure.

Facilities: 200 camping sites (90 modern and 110 primitive) in several campgrounds. Picnic areas. Terraced swimming beach. Dorms available for week camps during summer, open for reservation over shorter periods throughout the rest of year. Extensive trail systems for hiking, groomed cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling. Turtle Mountains Environmental Learning Center is available for groups by reservation.

Ownership and Contact: Lake Metigoshe State Park is administered by N.D. Parks and Recreation Department. A fee is charged for entry. For further information contact: Park Manager, Lake Metigoshe State Park, Route 1 - Box 359, Bottineau, ND 58318.

DR. DENNIS DISRUD is current president of the North Dakota Natural Science Society and biology professor at Minot State University.

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