The movie line is, "if you build it, they will come." Ducks Unlimited believes if you build wetlands in urban areas, people are more likely to visit them. DU’s Great Plains Region (GPR) wants to help Bismarck, N.D., turn 120 acres of open land in the city into a park with restored wetlands and grasslands.
"We want people to better understand how wetlands benefit them, and this is a chance to provide more wetland education in the city," said Steve Adair, director of operations for GPR. "We will have signage for people on wetland values and the wildlife that visit these important places. The city wetlands will be an easier place for schools to visit. We now have biology classes traveling more than 60 miles for field trips to our Coteau Ranch, east of the city."
The proposed new park is next door to GPR’s office and property. With dollars raised in the community, they hope to purchase the land, restore and build wetlands, plant native grass and trees, and improve the land’s low-maintenance trails. When those improvements are made, DU will transfer the land to the Bismarck Parks and Recreation Department and agree to maintain the park wetlands indefinitely.
"The opportunity for Bismarck to keep this large tract of in-town land in its natural state may not come again," Adair said. "The owners would like to see the property stay intact and provide a quiet retreat for residents to walk, cycle, play, bird-watch, and connect with nature."
The current landowners are committed to the project. They have lowered the price and are donating a portion of the land.
See drone footage of the park location, pictures from the site, and a video about the project.