Proposals sought for Little Missouri Bay

The Dunn County Job Development Association (JDA) is currently seeking proposals from individuals interested in developing a business venture at the Little Missouri Bay.

BY JENNIFER KOCHER

Dunn County Herald

 Posted Sept. 21, 2012

The Dunn County Job Development Association (JDA) is currently seeking proposals from individuals interested in developing a business venture at the Little Missouri Bay. The park, located about 20 miles north of Dunn Center, has long been a popular recreational getaway for Dunn County residents, and now County leaders are calling on the right person—or people—with the vision to maximize its recreational opportunities for local citizens and tourists alike.

The Little Missouri Bay has undergone a series of transformations over the past several decades. At once rugged badland buttes juxtaposed with pristine blue water, the park provides a south shore gateway down the arm of the Little Missouri River. Known commonly to locals as Voigt’s or Mel’s, the park was taken over in the early 1960s by the Army Corps of Engineers who revamped it into a public access recreational facility, adding boat ramps and public toilets, to create a fertile ground for anglers, boaters and hikers. Over the years, the Corps leased the land out to a variety of business owners, who operated a host of ventures, including private concessions, a bait store, restaurant and camping facility. However, the Bay receded in the late 1980s, leaving little more than a crusty mud flat full of weed and sapling sprouts where water once flowed. The operators pulled out and the park was more or less vacant until 2009 when the water returned and with it, renewed public interest in lakeshore recreation.

Now, the land has been leased to Dunn County by the Army Corps of Engineers, who would jointly like to see the park reach its full potential, especially in this fully charged boomtown climate where recreating is more important than ever.

“The goal of this development is to give residents the opportunity to get away and recreate or just relax,” said Carie Boster, JDA Economic Developer Director.

Furthermore, Boster encourages interested parties to think of recreational opportunities that span the four seasons, such as hiking, cross-country skiing, biking, and ice fishing, to fully maximize the area’s potential, both as a business venture and as a recreational source. Other plans might include overnight primitive tent camping, guided nature hikes, or even an annual kite-flying contest.

“A person is only limited by their imagination,” said Dunn County Commissioner, Glenn Eckelberg, who has in the past and continues to be an instrumental force in keeping the bay afloat.

Boster urges that all proposals include specific plans for generating revenue, as the park operator will be responsible for keeping the vaulted toilets pumped and clean as well as eliminating all park waste and keeping the grass mowed in access areas. Proposals should also include specific parameters regarding a particular venture. For example, if a person plans to offer camping, then the proposal should include the number of days that campers will be allowed to stay as well as the fee that will be charged per night. If a person chooses to open a restaurant, the facility must be mobile.

All proposals and ideas must be agreed upon by both the County Commissioners and the Army Corps of Engineers, who will have the final say in all operating matters.

For more information on submitting your proposal to the Dunn JDA, please contact Carie Boster at: (701) 764-6092 or dunnjda@ndsupernet.com.


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