- Associated Press - Sunday, June 15, 2014

PICK CITY, N.D. (AP) - The staff at Lake Sakakawea State Park near Pick City is now in charge of a park on the water.

This spring the park took over ownership and operation of what was formerly Captain Kit’s Marina, an 85-slip set up with a floating concession and gas store on the water.

With the acquisition earlier this year, the State Parks and Recreation Department now operates four marinas, making it far and away the most prominent dock owner on the big lake.

If there’s a change in operation, it’s mostly in how park staff hopes the public perceives the marina.

Keith Orth, the park’s longtime assistant manager, puts it like this: “We want this to be for the people of North Dakota. This is a transition year, but the people of North Dakota will know this actually belongs to them.”

Park Superintendent Greg Corcoran told The Bismarck Tribune (https://bit.ly/1igo4FS ) that the park’s goal is to ensure that the public feels welcome using the marina operation for gas, supplies and day docking, while still providing gated security for boat owners.

He said the park is repairing some damage to the docks, but overall the system is in good shape.

“What we have is a nice, friendly, welcoming marina. People who come say, ‘Wow, this feels good,’” he said.

A new addition to the marina store is a Keurig coffee system, so visitors can load up on a hot cup of java to get their fishing or boating day off to an energetic start.

Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week, with expanded hours planned deeper into the boating season.

Corcoran said the staff is closely watching the lake rise and making frequent adjustments to keep the docks tightened up and secure. The lake elevation already exceeds 1,840 feet and is expected to rise another 5 to 8 feet as mountain snowmelt continues to reach the river and reservoir system, he said.

Bruce Whittey of Bismarck was putzing around with a few maintenance chores on his sailboat on a lovely June afternoon.

“The communication’s been great. They’re (park staff) new and it’s a learning process for all of us,” Whittey said.

Mike Quinn, sailboat owner from Hazen, said he’s looking forward to the park’s ownership.

“It’s good to have new blood and enthusiasm,” he said.

John Horner of Mandan brought his sailboat into the dock after a shakedown spin around the bay beyond the marina breakwater.

“Everyone seems friendly and knows what they’re doing,” Horner said.

Corcoran said the marina is full for the season, with a waiting list for other boat owners who’d like to come rent a slip.

Mark Zimmerman, director of the Parks and Recreation Department, said the Lake Sakakawea marina will need more repairs and maintenance this summer to parts like couplings and anchors.

“These are 20-year-old docks, but that aside, it’s open and full,” he said.

He said the state doesn’t plan to operate the nearby cantina, though it is retrofitting the building so that flush-toilet bathrooms are open and available to the public.

Besides Lake Sakakawea, the state operates the marina at Lewis and Clark State Park and two marinas at Fort Stevenson State Park, all on the north shore of the lake.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, https://www.bismarcktribune.com


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