State: No Off-Road Vehicles at Clausen Springs Park

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will be posting signs at Clausen Springs prohibiting motorized, off-road vehicles anywhere in the park.

The move came after park manager Bev Anderson reported people driving 4-wheelers on the emergency spillway of the Clausen Springs Dam. The spillway eroded during flooding in 2009, causing the evacuation of the 55 residents of Kathryn. Repairs to the spill way were not completed until late 2011, following many construction and legal set backs that would eventually result in legal action between the Barnes County Water Resource District Board and a contractor hired for work on the dam.

While the water board was in charge of the repairs to the dam, Barnes County Park Board member Bobby Koepplin said the entire Clausen Springs area, including the campground, the dam and the lake are owned by State Game and Fish Wildlife Department. The park board is responsible for maintenance of the campground.

“I called Game and Fish and it’s a wildlife management area; ATVs and other motorized vehicles other than cars, campers and pickups are not allowed,” Koepplin told the Barnes County Commission at Tuesday’s meeting. “So they’re putting up signs like in other wildlife management areas that they’re not allowing snowmobiles and ATVs in the park.”

Koepplin said the incident in question involved four unidentified ATV riders. Game and Fish officers or the Barnes County Sheriff’s Office will be tasked with enforcing the law.

Koepplin said the park board has received complaints about ATVs in the camp before.

“I have heard from some campers that somebody uses them (ATVs) to go to the restroom or the showerhouse or whatever, and ‘why should I have to listen to it?’ I think it’s the best issue not to have them, because they wear on the park as they go,” he said.

The County Commission also received a partial bill for $278,317 from Border States Paving for work done to pave 1.5 miles of road from the front gate to the dam which was damaged during repairs on the spillway.
The commission transfered money to cover the bill from the general fund to the park board fund, because the park board fund was down to $42,000. The project was a 6 percent local share with a Game and Fish grant worth $25,000 and the rest reimbursed through FEMA. When FEMA reimburses the park board, the money will be transferred back to the county’s general fund.