Visit our Web Site at www.state.nd.us/ndparks The ND Parks & Recreation Department's facilities, programs & employment procedures are open to all, regardless of age, sex, race, color, disability, religion, national origin, or political affiliation. Contact us prior to your visit if you need an accommodation for a disability. For an alternate format of this publication (braille, large print, audio tape, etc.), contact ND Parks & Recreation Dept., 1835 Bismarck Expressway, Bismarck, ND 58504, ph. (701) 328-5357, State TDD (701) 328-2001 .
Winter Activities - The park is open for crosscountry skiing and snowshoeing. There are 6.5 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails within the park. A portion of the Sheyenne Valley Snowmobile Trail passes through the park.
Nearby Attractions - Town of Fort Ransom • Fort Ransom State Historic Site • Sheyenne Valley Arts and Crafts Festival • Ransom County Historical Museum, Bj'arne Ness Art Gallery, Viking Statue Monument • Swinging Bridge • Old Flour Mill • Sheyenne National Grassland • Sheyenne State Forest • Fort Ransom Ski Hill • National Scenic Byway
Bjone Visitor Center in the early 1900s. Threshing at the Sunne Farm during Sodbuster Days.
The prairie,and open grasslands. Along the Sheyenne River stand elm, green ash and bur oak trees. In autumn, the trees are ablaze in colors ranging from golden yellow to a brilliant red. Wildlife thrives throughout the park. White-tailed deer are especially abundant. Other species that may be seen are raccoon, he snap and creak of harnesses, the precision of furrows newly turned in the earth, the rich smell of food being prepared for harvest crews...this is the legacy early homesteaders brought to the picturesque Sheyenne River Valley in the late 1800s.
Today, that heritage is preserved at Fort Ransom State Park, which officially opened in July, 1979. The park derives its name from the original Fort Ransom, named for General T.E.G. Ransom, a distinguished volunteer officer jn the Civil War. The fort was established in 1867 to guard the trail from Fort Abercrombie to the-Missouri River. Men at the fort also provided protection for crews working on 4 trje Northern Pacific Railroad to the north. Fort Ransom was abandoned just five years later in 1872. The original fort site is located three miles south of the park.
THE HOMESTEADING YEARS During this period, much of the valley was settled by Norwegian farmers and a deep-rooted Scandinavian heritage still exists there today. Hardworking and industrious, these ' immigrants left an indelible mark on North Dakota's history. Their-settlement of the area led to a period of extensive agricultural development and homesteading. Within the park can be fo'und two early farmsteads. The Bjone Home, just inside the park entrance, is used as a visitor - center/The house was built by Nils Olson in J879 and inhabited, by the Bjone Family until 1976. In 1882, it was the site of the ~ first Lutheran Church services in the area.
A second farm, first homesteaded by Andrew Sunne in 1884, is the site of the park's annual" Sodbuster Days, sponsored by the . Fort Ransom Sodbusters Association. Held twice each summer the first weekends after Independence Day weekend and Labor Day, Sodbuster Days attracts visitors for demonstrations of, horse-drawn fieldwork, antique machinery displays, blacksmithing and farm cooking.
NATURE IN THE PARK The 887-acre park is managed as a natural and scenic area. Half of the park land is wooded, with the remainder upland beaver, squirrels, fox and an occassional coyote. Numerous species of songbirds, birds of prey and horebirds can be spotted. Within the park can be seen blue herons, morning doves, wild turkeys, belted kingfisher, wood ducks, red-tailed hawks, Hungarian partridges, brown thrashers and an occasional pileat'ed woodpecker.
PLANNING YOUR VISIT Bjone Visitor Center -Artifacts; exhibits and programs on the area's settlement and valley folklore are displayed at the Bjone Visitor Center.
Sodbuster Days - Tucked in a secluded corner of the, park, the Sunne farmstead is the site of the annual Sodbuster Days, with early farming demonstrations and displays. The celebration is held the second full weekend in July and the first weekend after Labor Day in September.
Camping & Picnicing - The park is open for camping and picnicking year-round. Electrical hookups, hot showers and a sewage dump station are. available from approximately Memorial Day through the end of September. Walk-in tent sites can be found along the river. Hiking - A 1-1/2 mile segment of the National North Country Scenic Trail winds through the park. When completed, this national trail will extend from New York-State to Lake Sakakawea. In addition, there is a 2-mile self-guided nature trail.
Horseback Riding - Corrals and a group campsite are provided for horseback riding groups bringing in their own mounts. The park has 3 1/2 miles of horse trails, and most areas of the park are open for riding.
Canoeing & Fishing - Flowing through the park is the peaceful . Sheyenne River, one of North Dakota's most popular canoeing waters. Canoe rentals are available at the park. Shoreline fishing for walleye, northern pike and rock bass is a popular activity.
Park Programs - Special events, such as Sodbuster Days , are held during the summer and fall.