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Editorial: February 2015

Legendary guide to North Dakota


North Dakota’s tourism industry was touted as the state’s third largest economy, behind energy and agriculture, at hearings held last month at the state legislature.

              North Dakota’s RECs supports this industry and is attending hearings this session to voice support for Gov. Jack Dalrymple’s proposed budgets for the tourism division, the State Historical Society, the state parks department, and the Outdoor Heritage Fund.

              For tourism (HB 1018), the Governor’s 2015-2017 budget recommendations include a total of $13.4 million for the Tourism Division. Specific tourism-related budget recommendations include an additional $1 million to enhance tourism-related marketing in mid-western markets; an additional $248,000 for expanded international marketing; and a one-time appropriation of $750,000 for large infrastructure grants to attract, retain and entertain North Dakota citizens and visitors to the state.

            For the State Historical Society (SB 2018), the Governor’s budget seeks new funding for several projects and purposes. Among those is funding of $1.2 million and six full time positions to provide staffing for the newly expanded Heritage Center on the Capitol Grounds. The new Heritage Center has been called the “Smithsonian on the Prairie,” and is truly a magnificent tribute to our state and its history

              For state parks, the Governor has proposed a one-time investment (SB 2019) of $30 million to make infrastructure improvements at each of the

 parks across the state. 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the N.D. Parks and Recreation Department. The state park system itself began when President Theodore Roosevelt signed over the deed to Old Fort Abraham Lincoln to the state in 1907. To learn more about the state parks and the 13 celebrations planned for this summer, visit

              For the Outdoor Heritage Fund, the Governor proposed $50 million for the next biennium. That’s a $20 million increase over the funding provided this biennium. This Fund is used to provide grants to make conservation and outdoor recreation investments across the state. Our testimony supported the increase, noting that the resources provided in this fund “will go a long ways to improve the quality of life in North Dakota” for the members we serve.

              The overall marketing theme for Tourism and tourism related activities used by the state continues to be “Legendary North Dakota.” This year’s official travel guide (which North Dakota LIVING publishes in partnership with the N.D. Tourism Division), contains a wealth of information on what makes traveling around or visiting North Dakota from out-of-state so legendary. Its emphasis on activities ranging from the arts to outdoor activities like hiking or bird watching provides readers with an exhaustive list of resources to plan and enjoy everything from a day visit to a long visit to North Dakota.

              One can find much more information about “Legendary North Dakota” at

Or, call the tourism division at 1-800-435-5663 to request a packet of information, including the new Tourism Guide if one wasn’t included with your current issue of North Dakota LIVING.

              Enjoy your “Legendary” travel to, in and around North Dakota this year.

Dennis Hill, editor-in-chief of North Dakota Living, is executive vice president and general manager of the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives, Mandan. Comments can be mailed to Dennis Hill, NDAREC, P.O. Box 727, Mandan, ND 58554-0727 or by email to