Outdoors briefly

Fort Stevenson to host hike

Fort Stevenson State Park will be holding a First Day Hike on New Year’s Day 2014 from 5 to 8 p.m.

The event will be held on the park’s North Campground Loop, which is about a half-mile in length. Participants can use cross country skis or snowshoes, but the loop can also be done on foot. Park staff will provide candle luminaries to light the way. At the end of the hike, participants can join the park staff for hot chocolate and roasted marshmallows by the fire.

A limited number of cross-country ski and snowshoe rentals are available by reservation. To reserve equipment, call the park office by Monday. The park is charging its $5 vehicle entrance fee on Wednesday. Fort Stevenson State Park is located south of Garrison. If you have questions, call the park office at 337-5576.

Kreft honored by Game and Fish

Bruce Kreft, conservation biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Bismarck, received the agency’s Director’s Award for professional excellence during the department’s annual meeting Dec. 12 in Bismarck.

Terry Steinwand, Game and Fish director, said Kreft is the consummate professional and always represents the department with honor and dignity. “Bruce doesn’t require direction or fanfare, and brings a great attitude to work every day,” Steinwand said.

Kreft was mentioned for his involvement with the Red River diversion project, Minot flood control, Missouri River dredging and stabilization, wetland drainage, wildlife crossings and water withdrawals from lakes and reservoirs. “Preserving or mitigating fish and wildlife habitat while working on these projects is daunting, but Bruce attacks them with passion,” Steinwand said.

Sprenger officer of the year

Courtney Sprenger, North Dakota Game and Fish Department district game warden stationed in Elgin, is the state’s 2013 Wildlife Officer of the Year. Sprenger was honored recently by the Shikar-Safari Club International, a private conservation organization that annually recognizes outstanding wildlife officers in each state.

In a nomination letter sent to Shikar-Safari, chief warden Robert Timian said Sprenger’s district contains a variety of wildlife and recreational areas, which presents many challenges.

“Warden Sprenger has taken a great interest in boating safety and the Missouri River Task Force, spending countless hours ensuring the safety of the boaters on the river and in her district,” Timian said. “She has a great interest in hunter and trapper education, is well respected by the public she serves, and her dedication and professionalism ensures the department’s goal of protecting the future of the outdoor resources of North Dakota.”

G&F recognizes employee efforts

North Dakota Game and Fish Department Director Terry Steinwand recently honored a number of employees with performance-based awards at the department’s annual staff meeting Dec. 12.

Gene Van Eeckhout, Jamestown, and Brian Prince, Devils Lake, received the Special Projects award, given to an individual who implemented a successful new project.

Van Eeckhout was recognized for his 38-year efforts at Spiritwood Lake, including assessing grass carp and zander introductions, keeping common carp out and water quality projects. Prince was recognized for his work in enhancing public land opportunities in the northeast. “In the last 10 years, this district has added 16 new wildlife management areas and expanded eight existing WMAs,” Steinwand said.

Melissa Long, Bismarck, received the Solid Foundation award, presented to an employee who demonstrates exemplary work in their field. Nancy Boldt, Bismarck, received the Public Outreach award, presented to an employee for showing a significant effort, ability or accomplishment in interacting with the public while promoting the department’s programs. Boldt was recognized for her efforts in developing and coordinating the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program.