North Dakota


Badlands in Little Missouri National Grassland - photo courtesy of the US Forest Service

North Dakota

On March 14, 2010 the Eastern Native Tree Society and Western Native Tree Society switched from discussion lists on Google Groups to a new discussion list in a Bulletin Board format at:   Posts made since the inception of the BBS on March 14, 2010 will be sorted and archived on the BBS. Click on the link to go to the equivalent section on the new BBS. This website will continue to serve as a front end for the ENTS and WNTS groups. It will continue to serve as a repository of older posts, and will serve as the host site for special projects and features that are not well suited for a BBS format. Please visit the BBS for the latest information and trip reports.

Field Trips and Discussions

North Dakota is a land dominated by grassy prairies.  Of all of the great grass covered prairies found in the time of European settlement, only about 1% remain in their natural state.  There are four National Grasslands in North Dakota, the Little Missouri National Grassland is the largest.  The others are  the Sheyenne, Cedar River, and Grand River Grasslands. Forested lands are limited.  Some are preserved in Theodore Roosevelt National Park - a badlands area.  There are five state forests totaling 13,278 acres in North Dakota containing much of the remaining native forest land in the state.  These are listed below.

Little Missouri National Grassland 

Gunlogson Arboretum Nature Preserve The Preserve straddles a three-quarter mile long segment of the Tongue River. The Preserve, primarily wooded, is dominated by mature elm and basswood. Shallow woodland ponds and wet thickets are found in low-lying areas. Many of the ponds are spring-fed, retaining water throughout the summer. The significant plants and animals of the Preserve are many and varied. Altogether more than a dozen rare species have been reported from the area. These range from the southern watermeal, an inconspicuous, aquatic plant slightly larger than a pinhead, glorified in college textbooks as one of the world's smallest flowering plants; to the pileated woodpecker, a hauntingly  primeval-looking species more typically associated with the old-growth forests of the East.


Theodore Roosevelt National Park badlands - photo courtesy of the US National Park Service

Theodore Roosevelt National Park About 60 million years ago, streams carried eroded materials eastward from the young Rocky Mountains and deposited them on a vast lowland -- today's Great Plains. During the warm, rainy periods that followed, dense vegetation grew, fell into swamp areas, and was later buried by new layers of sediments. Eventually this plant material turned into lignite coal. Some plantlife became petrified; today considerable amounts of petrified wood are exposed in the badlands. Bentonite, the blue-gray layer of clay , may be traced to ash from ancient volcanoes far to the west. But even as sediments were being deposited, streams were starting to cut down through the soft strata and to sculpt the infinite variety of buttes, tablelands, and valleys that made up the badlands we know today. 

North Dakota State Forest pamphlet: 2.74 MB. In 1996, the North Dakota Forest Service began a program of land acquisition to permanently protect a portion of North Dakota's limited native forest resource. With the help of the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, 13,278 acres of North Dakota native forest were set aside primarily to develop recreation opportunities. The State Forests are covered woody plant communities dotted with open grassland, wetlands and small lakes. 

  • Homen State Forest: The Homen Unit contains many small parcels of land in Homen Township totaling 4,485 acres. It is made up of dense forest, small lakes and wetlands and contains Hartly-Boundary Primitive Area, Pelican-Sandy Lake Recreation Area and Public acres to Long Lake.
  • Mouse River State Forest:  Two parcels totaling 259 acres in McHenery County. It contains stunted aspen forests of the sand hills and riparian forest along the Mouse River, also know as the Souris River.
  • Sheyenne State Forest:  509 acres of Sheyenne River riparian forest in Ransom County.
  • Tetrault Woods State Forest: 432 acres of Pembina River riparian forest near Walhalla, ND.
  • Turtle Mountain State Forest:  At 7,494 acres, this is the largest contiguous block of forested land. It extends from the foothills of the Turtle Mountains to the Canadian Boarder. Within its boundaries are: Strawberry Lake Recreation Area, Hans Bay Recreation Area and Twisted Oaks , which is a day use area.

Dakota Prairie Grasslands 

North Dakota Tree Information Center

North Dakota Forest Service