Ice skating coming to Medora: Council approves outdoor rink plansThe creation of a skating rink will add one more thing to do in Medora this winter, once it gets cold enough for water to stay frozen.
By: Katherine Grandstrand, The Dickinson Press
The creation of a skating rink will add one more thing to do in Medora this winter, once it gets cold enough for water to stay frozen.
At a recent meeting of the Medora City Council, Wally Owen, representing the Medora Chamber of Commerce, proposed an outdoor ice skating rink on Third Avenue from Made in USA Mercantile to Badlands Pizza Parlor. Council members approved.
“It will be a destination ice-skating rink,” Owen said. “It’s actually going to be on the street kitty-corner from the hotel where parents can have hot chocolate and dessert while watching their children skate.”
The rink is an activity to add to Medora’s winter charm, said Leona Odermann, Medora Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau CEO.
“It’s just another thing if people decide they want to do a trip through (Theodore Roosevelt National Park) or visit the Chateau (deMores) or that type of thing,” she said.
The rink will be run by volunteers, including Owen. Maintenance will be a partnership between the city and volunteers.
The project will cost about $3,000, he said. The skating rink will be built with liners and borders on the street.
Patrons will be responsible for skates and other equipment.
It is part of a growing trend to keep Medora open year-round.
“It’s the first step in making Medora a winter recreational destination,” Owen said. “The old-fashioned street lights will make it a Norman Rockwell-type experience.”
While the old west town traditionally closes up when the Medora Musical shuts down, several shops, restaurants and attractions stay open.
The Rough Riders Gift Shop, across the street from the hotel, will be open year-round for the first time this winter, Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation chief operating officer Mike Beaudoin said.
“We had a lot of folks from the surrounding area just come out and spend a nice, quiet evening with us and have a nice dinner and enjoy the peace and quiet Medora has to offer,” he said.
TRNP, which has always been open year-round, offers many winter activities.
“The only time when the park would be closed would be if there was a humongous blizzard where the roads were impassible completely,” TRNP Superintendent Valerie Naylor said.
The South Unit Visitor Center closes on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s days.
“But even if the visitor’s center is closed, it’s still OK for people to come into the park,” Naylor said.
All summer activities are available, even camping, and if there’s enough snow, cross country skiing and snowshoeing are allowed throughout the park, she said.
Cross country skiing is also available at Bully Pulpit Golf Course, Beaudoin said; if there is enough snow.
“North Dakota is tough, tough state for that because you never can count on the weather, like last year,” Owen said, referencing the relatively mild winter.
He said they would like to have the rink ready before Medora’s Old-Fashioned Cowboy Christmas, but an outdoor skating rink needs a week of temperatures below freezing to guarantee the ice will solidify.
“It’s beautiful, it’s quiet,” Odermann said of Medora in the winter. “You can feel like you’re only person here, and you’re not.”