Ducks Unlimited (DU) has finalized the property acquisition for the Clairmont Family Conservation Park in Bismarck, N.D. The park will be named after the original owners and partners in the effort, the Clairmont Family, who wanted the property to remain in its natural state and provide outdoor enjoyment for the Bismarck-Mandan community.
"My dad, Bill Clairmont, wanted to turn this property into something unique that had an intrinsic value beyond simply a commercial one," said Nancy Clairmont Carr, one of Bill Clairmont’s daughters. "Dad had a unique intuition with how to develop land that was different from how development was conventionally being done. This park leaves a Clairmont family legacy that marries all of his values including educating others, appreciating nature and providing a place for people to personally develop a connection to nature and conservation."
Bill Clairmont, who passed away in early 2020, initially sat down with DU staff in 2017 to develop the vision for the park. Bill wanted to provide a long-term contribution to North Dakota and have the property open to the community for outdoor education and recreation.
The 116-acre park will showcase the prairies as an important natural resource for wildlife and humans. It will provide educational opportunities for visitors to learn about wetlands, grasslands and trees and how they function on the landscape. To encourage people to get outdoors and recreate, there will be a complex of hiking, biking and multi-use trails. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the property.
Nancy and her siblings Julie Clairmont-Shide, Cindy Clairmont-Schmidt and Steve Clairmont were part of the process and worked closely with DU to make the acquisition happen.
"My siblings and I are excited to see this park provide opportunities for people to use in many different ways including simply appreciating the beauty of nature," Nancy said. "We appreciate the donors, businesses and organizations in the Bismarck-Mandan community who contributed financially to the park. This effort wouldn’t be possible without their generosity. We especially thank Ducks Unlimited for spearheading the coordination and development of the park."
The next step for the property is for DU to restore and enhance the wetlands, grasslands and riparian habitat. Partners will create informative signs to educate visitors about the importance of the habitat and how Ducks Unlimited conserves similar habitats in North Dakota and across the continent. Once DU completes the habitat enhancement, the property will be transferred to the Bismarck Parks & Recreation District (BPRD). They will complement existing features with user-friendly amenities and maintain it in perpetuity for public access.
"There are many partners we want to thank for donating to this project and keeping true to the Clairmont family’s vision," said Chris Hildebrandt, director of development for DU. "We also want everyone to know that it’s not too late to be a part of this unique community-driven effort."
In addition to BPRD and the Clairmont Family, partners who provided significant contributions to the park effort include The American Foundation for Wildlife, North Dakota Natural Resources Trust, MDU Resources Group, Inc., Tom and Frances Leach Foundation, Starion Bank, Audubon Dakota, SCHEELS All Sports, Bill and Bonnie Daniel and the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. There are 82 additional businesses and individuals who have stepped up to the support the park with a gift.
To contribute and be recognized as a supporter of the Clairmont Family Conservation Park contact Chris Hildebrandt at (406) 203-2503 or email@example.com. For additional information about the park, people can call the DU Great Plains Region office at (701) 355-3500.
Jennifer P. Kross