Medora, TRNP: Flooding slowed tourist season last year, oil workers help bring numbers back upAfter flooding slowed the first part of the tourist season in Medora last year, this year’s dry, sunny streak has allowed more people to enjoy this historic North Dakota city and its neighboring national park, officials said this past week.
By: Katherine Grandstrand, The Dickinson Press
After flooding slowed the first part of the tourist season in Medora last year, this year’s dry, sunny streak has allowed more people to enjoy this historic North Dakota city and its neighboring national park, officials said this past week.
Visitation of Theodore Roosevelt National Park in June was up near 2010 numbers, said Eileen Andes, chief of interpretation and public affairs at the park. Two years ago was the second busiest year the park had seen since 1982, the busiest being 1984.
Attendance of the Medora Musical is also up, said Bismarck-based Suzanne Wentz, director of marketing for the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation. Nine percent more tickets were sold this year over last in June.
One of the hardest hit attractions by last year’s flooding was Bully Pulpit Golf Course, Wentz said. Golfers spent much of 2011 playing on a partial, nine-hole course while damaged parts were reconstructed.
“From what I understand there’s some kind of a new look and feel to a couple of the holes where they had to make some changes based on the flooding and they’re actually better holes than they were prior to the flood,” she said.
TRNP visitations were up almost 25 percent this June over last year, according to the TRNP Monthly Public Use Report. The increase was the same year-to-date for the first half of the year. So far this year there has been 204,510 visits to the park compared to the first six months of 2011 when there were 163,812 visits.
“We also have been seeing what we would consider to be kind of non-traditional visitors,” Andes said. “Oil workers who are off work for their day off and they’ve been coming into the park in small groups of single men and they’re also really enthusiastic about visiting the park.”
Medora and TRNP can expect more visitors as the summer progresses, said Leona Odermann, CEO of the Medora Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
“I think it’s going to continue to show a steady — greater visitation. That’s just very common here,” she said. “The end of July and August are always our busiest time.”
The Family Fun Center and a restored Von Hoffman House have been added to Medora’s attractions this year, Wentz said. There are also additional menu items at Pitchfork Steak Fondue as a test Thursdays.
The Family Fun Center consists of a large inflatable slide, bungee swings and a rock climbing wall.
The Von Hoffman House was previously home to the Medora Doll House. It was closed last season for restoration after the original furniture was found.
Medora has often been thought of as a Memorial Day to Labor Day destination, but more and more businesses and attractions are being kept open later and even year-round, Wentz said.
The Musical has a set schedule based on the weather and the timetable of its performers and other workers, who are often students, she said, but there has been talk of extending it in either direction over the years.
TRNP is open 365 days a year, Andes said.
“We don’t lock the gates or anything like that,” she said. “Everybody is welcome to come to see how special and wonderful it is.”
Campers are welcome every day of the year, Andes said.
“Needless to say, during the wintertime our campgrounds are not busy at all,” she said.
For more information about Medora visit http://www.medora.com/, http://www.nps.com/thro, or http://www.medorand.com/.