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Politics & Government

'Day Park' planning going ahead

A public meeting will be held next Wednesday at the Bismarck public library about the new state “day park” – to be located along the Missouri River in south Bismarck.

State parks and recreation director Mark Zimmerman says his department decided to go ahead with this project – even though his department had to cut about 4 percent of its budget in the allotment process.

"We looked at all the projects," said Zimmerman. "There are some that will not be done. But this one moves ahead. It's something we need to do now."

Zimmerman says that’s because there needs to be bank stabilization done there – a remnant of the 2011 flood.

"We're losing a lot of land on the riverbank, just because of the natural flow of the river," said Jake Axtman, one of the project’s designers. He says this project is designed with a “nature first” approach.

"We're going to restore the natural integrity of this site," Axtman said. "It's been degraded over the years. We have a real opportunity to restore a large tract of cottonwood forest."

Zimmerman says a "day park" means no camping and no motorized vehicles.

"I've had people say, 'Well, we want a place to train our dogs,'" Zommerman said. "Other people say, 'We want a place to put our kayaks.' Others want a place to go birding, a place to cross-country ski. So many avenues without having to have a campground with a proverbial softball diamond or soccer field."

Zimmerman says he hopes the project will begin this fall.

The day park will be the first state park established since the Cross Ranch State Park was created in the 1980s.

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