Camping paradise

GARRISON – Campers utilizing the Douglas Creek Recreation Area not only enjoy the benefits of a remote get-away, they also enjoy a spectacular view of Lake Sakakawea. The camping area is located on the west shore of sprawling Douglas Bay.

“To me it’s a valued recreation area because it offers a different type of service. It’s more of what camping used to be,” said Todd Lindquist, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project manager at Riverdale. “It’s a very neat area.”

There areno electrical, water or sewer dump services located within the campground at Douglas Creek Recreation Area. However, the area does have 20 camp sites complete with picnic tables and fire rings. Three vault toilets are located on the grounds. An additional plus is a useable boat ramp and dock which allows easy access to Douglas Bay and Lake Sakakawea.

“We’re using the south end ramp right now,” said Nathan Bush, Corps natural resource specialist. “We have a total of three ramps that can be used. It depends on the level of Lake Sakakawea.”

The Douglas Creek campground can be accessed by driving approximately nine miles west of Garrison on N.D. Highway 37. A turn to the south is marked by a prominent sign for the Douglas Creek Recreation Area. The road to the campground is eight miles of gravel, usually well maintained.

“We blade the road, clean firepits, have garbage pick-up, move the boat dock, mow periodically and have patrols,” said Bush. “There was almost 19,000 visitors out there last year. We have traffic counters to actually count vehicles. The area is getting more popular as far as cabin sites coming up around there.”

A new area opening up to construction is called “Seclusion at Douglas Bay.” It is located a few miles northwest of the Douglas Creek Recreation Area.

No usage fees are charged to campers staying at the Recreation Area, but stays are limited to a maximum of 14 days during any 30 day period. Several acres of land leading to the camping area has been enhanced for wildlife production, partly due to a cooperative effort between the Corps and Pheasants Forever. Tall pine trees grace much of the campground proper.

“We partnered with Pheasants Forever for seeding and managing food plots for pheasants and other wildlife,” explained Bush. “The camping area has a lot of Ponderosa pines in the center. It is very nicely wooded in that vicinity.”

The pines offer protection from the wind, provide shade and a green splash of color against the blue hues of Lake Sakakawea and the surrounding horizon.

“There’s a group of people out there that like and cherish that area. It serves a good purpose,” said Lindquist.

The area is more remote than most camping areas along Lake Sakakawea, and has fewer amenities, but that is what adds to the appeal for those seeking to enjoy a more primitive experience away from the crowd.