Kurt Eversman, manager of the Valley City National Fish Hatchery since March, is working to make the federal facility located about 2.5 miles north and west of Valley City a recreational destination.
Wednesday Eversman, 28, said “I would like to see people on the property. This is federal property and people should be able to come and enjoy it.”
Plans Eversman has for attracting people from Valley City and the surrounding area include expanding the fishing pond now restricted to people 12 and younger to people 18 and younger along with senior citizens, “people who want to catch and release or just sit under a tree.”
Eversman said he plans to replace the pond’s fishing pier with track decking, “the park benches need to be replaced,” he wants to add a simple hiking trail, plant patches of wildflowers and build an archery range.
“The (U.S. Fish and Wildlife) Service has a youth initiative to connect young people with the outdoors, off video games and get them out to nature.”
Eversman said when he was first assigned to the Valley City, D.C. “asked me to put in a primitive hiking trail” at the fish hatchery.”
On Wednesday, Eversman said he has been working with Girl Scouts from the adjoining camp to construct the two-mile trail “with bird blinds and suitable habitat.”
Ever since arriving in Valley City, Kurt Eversman has seen local people out walking or getting exercise around the area, and he wants them and other local people to see the fish hatchery “as a public use area, I would like to see people on the property.”
Along with local Girl Scouts, Eversman said he and Fish and Wildlife Service is also working with Valley City State University on the trail and plans for wildflowers patches. “It will essentially be a really nice trail. I want it to be a nice thing people in Valley City can use.”
Also as part of his goal of connecting young people with nature, Eversman plans to begin an archery program. He said he has the bows already, and is seeking people to train as instructors for the program. “It makes sense to do archery here.”
Eversman is also thinking of adding a nine-hole frisbee golf course to the site.
“We want to connect or engage the community with what we have going on here. We are a community resource. This is your (Valley City’s) fish hatchery here.”
Eversman said he, his wife and two daughters plan to move to Valley City at the end of August.
“I’ve worked at fish hatcheries in five states, and I come from Ohio. The community (Barnes County and Valley City) has been real nice and supportive.”
Eversman plans to use local contractors whenever possible while refreshing and adding to the site. “I’m really wanting to get the community involved.”