When we left the North Unit, we headed north and then east to Minot. Along the way we passed through the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. We stopped for lunch at Four Bears Village, ND on the shores of Lake Sakakawea. It’s a Corps of Engineers flood control project from the 1950’s that constructed the Garrison Dam across the Missouri River. It’s an interesting story of the federal government taking private property (reservation land) from the Indians to create the flood control reservoir I suppose to protect Bismarck located downstream. It seems everyone that lived in the valley, was displaced to inferior land on the bluffs and upland areas. Many moved to a new town they called New Town located across the Four Bears Bridge.
There is lots of new oil activity in this part of the state. We saw brand new production wells as well as several exploration rigs. There is a long (100+ miles) pipeline under construction through the field to the Minot area. It appears that a small oil refinery has been built from scratch on the plains. I think I read somewhere North Dakota is one of the few states not running a deficit and has a relatively low unemployment rate. It certainly appears that there is a lot of construction activity in and around a lot of the small towns.
As you may see in some of the pictures, the landscape changed once we crossed the Missouri from relatively dry badlands and prairie to flatter prairie, grain farms, and prairie pothole lakes. There are lots of places for waterfowl to thrive. The other thing that appears to thrive in Montana and North Dakota are grasshoppers. At every gas stop, I’ve got to clean the windshield of smashed grasshopper and pick them out of the grill.