From Dakotah Indian tribe meaning “friend” or “aly”
Nickname: Peace Garden State
State bird: Western Meadowlark
State flower: Wild Prairie Rose
Time: Central (GMT – 6) in the greater part of the State; Mountain (GMT – 7) in the west.
The State: North Dakota, one of the most rural States in the USA, is famous for its scenery and Old West heritage. Fargo, on the eastern border, is the State’s largest city. The metropolitan area of Fargo-Moorhead is a prime tourist destination, with attractions such as Plains Art Museum, Red River Zoo, Fargo Air Museum, Children’s Museum at Yunker Farm and Bonanzaville (a restored pioneer village).
The 28,329-hectare (70,000 acres) Theodore Roosevelt National Park set in the Badlands of western North Dakota offers spectacular views and includes the restored cow-town of Medora.
The park takes its name from Theodore Roosevelt, who bought Elkorn Ranch here after his wife and his mother died on the same day on 14 Feb 1884. He found inspiration among the quiet canyons of ‘rough-rider country’, famously declaring ‘I never would have been President if it weren’t for my experiences in North Dakota’.
The South Unit of the park features a 58km (36-mile) scenic automobile loop, an excellent way to see this area. On the loop itself, Wind Canyon is a constantly evolving site, formed by winds blowing against the soft clay.Still in the park, Peaceful Valley Ranch offers a variety of horseback excursions, while Maltese Cross Cabin, Roosevelt’s first cabin in the State, is still open to the public today.
Fort Abraham Lincoln, south of Mandan, was the final command and home of Lt Colonel George Custer, where he and his Seventh Cavalry departed for the Battle of Little Bighorn. On 25 June 1876, Custer’s entire command of 265 men was wiped out in a 20-minute battle with the Sioux, led by Sitting Bull, Gall and Crazy Horse. It is still possible to see Custer’s house and inspect the commissary and barracks of this famous fort. The On-A-Slant Indian Village nearby traces the area’s history from the first Native American settlements.
Other North Dakota attractions include the recreation areas around Lake Sakakawea and the Little Missouri River; the Fort Union Trading Post and Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Sites; Fort Mandan; and the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.