Tag Archives: things to do in Dickinson North Dakota

In Dickinson, Every Day Is A Battle, And Life Is A War

About two years ago, I realized that living in Dickinson, every day is like a battle, and my life is like a war.

It seemed like every day, something bad happened.  A dispute, argument, disagreement, confrontation, altercation, accident…every day something bad happened.  Overall, adding all these days together, my life was like a war.

I also came to realize, that living in Dickinson was just like being in a prison work camp.  Most of the people that I would encounter in Dickinson during each day, were rough, uneducated, ignorant, low-class people, many of them with criminal records.  And, every day the Dickinson Police tried to follow me like I was a criminal, as if I was an inmate in a prison.

I told myself, that when I woke up in the morning, just like a prisoner getting ready to leave his cell, that I had better be prepared for all kinds of bad shit to happen, whether from the inmates, the guards, or the prison.  This came to be the mindset that I needed to have in order to live in Dickinson, because life played out like this every single day.

I don’t know if other people in Dickinson look at life this way, and think that this is normal.  This is not normal.  In order to convince myself that life is not supposed to be like this, I thought about how life used to be before I came to Dickinson.

I remembered back to when I was a kid in elementary school, middle school, and high school.  I remembered what college was like, what my early career was like, and when I got older and moved out to the western U.S.  There was always, always this same cycle, where both good things would happen, and bad things would happen, and the good things seemed to outweigh the bad things.

I had some problems in school, but I ended up doing very well in school.  I had some problems in college, but I graduated from engineering school.  I had some bad jobs after college, but eventually I had some good and high paying jobs.  When I left my career behind, I had some low points, but I also had some of the best times of my life, met very interesting people, and had new opportunities.  Despite bad things happening from time to time, good things happened too.

However, living in Dickinson, nothing changes, it is just bad, all the time.  The local people here, they hate people who are from someplace else, and they also hate each other.  The local people here who have had the advantage of inheriting money, land, or a business would rather hire or advance local people, people with no education and a criminal record, before they would allow someone from someplace else to get ahead.

The local people here with no education, criminal records, and their methamphetamine addiction always begin with the intention of undermining and running off people from someplace else.  Being a worker in Dickinson from someplace else, is like being in a bucket full of crabs, every time you get a claw on the edge of the bucket to try to pull yourself out, you get dragged back down by the other crabs.

The reason why I stay in Dickinson, is because it sucks so bad here, that no one wants to live here and work here, so the wages are higher than normal.  It’s like working in a coal mine, it is dangerous, miserable, and dirty, but it pays well.  Or it’s like working in the Middle East or Afghanistan where the people are barbaric savages, but it pays well.

If You Want To See Kayaking On The Heart River In Dickinson, Go To YouTube

Several weeks ago I wrote a blog post letting the readers know that I would begin uploading videos to YouTube.  These videos do not have commentary, and they are not controversial.  I just wanted to show different aspects of Dickinson, North Dakota using video.

My latest three videos show kayaking on the Heart River in Dickinson.  These short videos are quite picturesque and somewhat funny.

On your internet browser, type in “YouTube”.  Once you click on the YouTube site, enter in their search bar “Dickinson58601 Living in Dickinson North Dakota”.  The three latest videos are “Heart River Horses Dickinson North Dakota”, “Heart River Horses And Dogs Dickinson North Dakota”, and “Heart River Kayaking With Dogs Dickinson North Dakota”.

Don’t attack the person in the video, this is not me, this is someone who lives in my neighborhood.

Here is the link to this YouTube video:

Dickinson58601 Living In Dickinson, North Dakota Is Now On YouTube

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine who read my blog posts, suggested to me that I begin making videos.  I didn’t want to do this at that time, there was so much that I wanted to say and write about, that I just didn’t want the distraction of trying to make videos.

Now that I have written approximately 400 blog posts, there are some things that I would like to show using video.  My first videos will not have audio commentary or narration, because I want to show some things in Dickinson, North Dakota, just as they are, so that people can look at them and have their own thoughts about them.

Today, Monday 8/28/2017, I uploaded two 40 second videos to YouTube that show Patterson Lake.  These two videos are primarily for people who have never been to Dickinson, so that they will know, and can see that Patterson Lake is less than one mile from downtown Dickinson.

I will begin adding more videos on a regular basis.  To view these videos, perform an internet search in your browser for “YouTube”, then click on the YouTube website.  Once on the YouTube website, in their search box, type in “Dickinson58601 Living In Dickinson North Dakota”.

Here is a link to my YouTube Channel:

Final Dickinson First On First Concert For 2017?

I don’t want this to be a quick, flippant blog post, I want to be clear and have people think about and reflect on some of these things.

This might have been the last First On First a.k.a. Alive at Five concert that you will see in Dickinson for many years, or maybe something else happened at this final event, you will have to continue reading.

The Odd Fellows Lodge in Dickinson is the group that sponsors, organizes, and pays for the First On First concerts.  The Odd Fellows Lodge members are all unpaid volunteers.  Some members handle the event plans and permitting with the city, sell event advertising to businesses, seek event sponsorship and donations, have signs, tickets and T-shirts made, order alcohol, close off the street and set up the event area, set up the stage, stock the alcohol bars, serve drinks, sell event wrist bands and drink tickets, sell event space to vendors, take down the stage, and clean up the event area.  And continually do accounting and budgeting all week in order to be able to pay for everything each week, the biggest expense being the main performer every week.

Since I began going to the Alive at Five concerts in Dickinson in 2014, it has been harder and harder for Odd Fellows Lodge members and other people to volunteer and work at the events because of the way that Dickinson has changed.  I would describe it as most people having financial difficulty, more difficulty in their lives, and being less able to volunteer their time.  Also, businesses have become less able to afford event advertising, sponsorships, and donations.

For the past two years, Tracy Tooz the owner of Tooz Construction, and Mike Odegaard have been the primary event organizers in the leadership, management, booking of performers, event set up, and event take down each week.  I have never seen Tracy Tooz or Mike Odegaard complain or gripe about anything.  I have also never seen anyone ever thank Tracy Tooz or Mike Odegaard.

If you look at the First On First events as a big party, where everyone in North Dakota is invited, Tracy Tooz and Mike Odegaard set up this party, hire a band, make sure that there is enough alcohol, try to make sure everyone has a good time, then clean up after everybody has left, and then throw another party next week.  Well, nobody has ever thanked them for it.  They spend a lot of their time on the phone, the computer, driving their own trucks to go pick things up, using their own tools and equipment at the event, letting the performers use their personal RVs and vehicles while in town, and spending many hours each week setting up and taking down the stage.  Tracy Tooz and Mike Odegaard have donated a great deal of time, money, and energy to the First On First concerts and there is no guarantee that they will want to continue, I am not sure that they will.

Other people who have consistently volunteered many hours at the events are Kathy Fisher owner of the Rock Bar, Kristi Schwartz owner of Allstate Insurance, Jeff Pokorney owner of Pokorney Chiropractic, all of the Outlaw Sippin’ band members Brady Paulson, Beni Paulson, Emil Anheluk, Qwain, Donna HR at Tooz Construction, Brock White owner of Brock White Entertainment, April, and many other people whose names I will add as I remember them.

As I wrote earlier, it is becoming more and more difficult for people to volunteer or work at the events because of the way that Dickinson is changing economically.  All of the people that I have named so far up above, I don’t know if they will all be able to keep on volunteering like they have been.  I have never seen anyone thank any of them.

All of the Odd Fellows Lodge members, all of the volunteers, all of the event sponsors and donors wanted for people to come out, have a good time, meet friends, socialize, and enjoy the concerts.  Seeing and knowing that people enjoy the concerts was gratifying for everyone.  But I wanted to point out now that many people just took the events for granted, that they would always happen every Thursday, that the city paid for it, or that it was a money making venture, where someone was making a profit.

The final First On First concert of this year, I knew, and probably thirty other people knew that this might be the last First On First concert for many years possibly.  This may have been one of the reasons why Tracy Tooz, Mike Odegaard, and Jeff Pokorny decided to have the very last concert at the Dickinson State University football season opening game.  This had never been done before.

While the DSU Blue Hawk supporters were having their tail gate party in the stadium parking lot, the Outlaw Sippin’ band began playing.  Bradi, Beni, Emil and the band sounded as good or better than they ever had, but most of the tail gate partiers stayed over in the Blue Hawk supporter event area, like they were accustomed to doing for many years.  There was also the assumption by many of the DSU Blue Hawk supporters that they had to be 21 years of age, and pay admission to get into the fenced in area in front of the stage.  Attendance before the start of the football game at 6:00 p.m. was very low.

Immediately after the football game was over at about 8:30 p.m., the event area in front of the stage began to fill very quickly.  Chancy Williams and the Younger Brothers Band began playing at about 8:45 p.m.  From about 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m, there were approximately 400 to 500 people at the event.  Without anyone knowing, the event almost ran out of beer by 10:30 p.m. and they had to go get more beer.

All of the event organizers were very happy that they had sold so many wrist bands and drink tickets in the final two hours, which would be enough to cover or more than cover all of the event expenses.  All of the event organizers, volunteers, vendors, and workers realized that they could have or would have had much higher attendance starting at 3:00 p.m. if they would not have had a separation between the Blue Hawk supporter tail gate party and the event stage, everything should have been co-mingled, not separated.

The event organizers also realized from the wrist band sales and drink sales immediately following the end of the football game, that they might be able to continue to have this event for each of the remaining DSU home football games.  This would allow the Odd Fellows Lodge to continue to bring music performers to Dickinson into the winter months, which is something that many people had wanted to happen for at least the past several years, but it was not known how this could be done.

What was seen by some people as possibly being the last First On First concert for quite a while, might have instead turned out to be the beginning of the music concert season in Dickinson extending into the winter.  We will have to wait and see.

(Please leave the names of the event organizers, volunteers, band members, sponsors, and donors that I keep forgetting to mention in the comments section and I will include them.)

Risks Of Having Any Involvement In Dickinson, North Dakota

When I first started this blog website over 2-1/2 years ago, in my first blog posts I wrote that the local people here in Dickinson were unfriendly, uncooperative, and hostile to people who came from out of state to work in Dickinson.  I wrote that the local people here in Dickinson hate people from out of state, and anything that out of state people say to them, only makes them dislike out of state people more.  I also wrote that the local people here in Dickinson, hate each other too.

I have lived in Dickinson for almost five years now, and it just continues to be demonstrated that the local people here are unfriendly, uncooperative, hateful, and hostile.  Because of my experiences here, and what I have seen and observed in Dickinson, I would recommend to people from out of state, to not get involved in Dickinson.

I recommend to people from out of state who come to work in Dickinson, to plan on having as little involvement in Dickinson as possible.  I understand moving to Dickinson to work.  Due to the oil boom, there were higher paying jobs with more overtime hours, than other places in the United States.  I came from Idaho to work in Dickinson.

When I first came to Dickinson to work in 2011, I just planned on making money, saving money, and returning to my home in Idaho.  When being hired at my first job in Dickinson, my employer had told me and another man from Montana, that the company would provide housing for us.  I had bought a truck camper to put on my truck before I drove to Dickinson, so I just stayed in my truck camper on the company property at first.  My local Dickinson co-workers, began complaining to the company that it was not right or fair for the company to provide housing for me and the other out of state worker.  It would not have harmed or cost my local Dickinson co-workers anything, for the company to provide housing for me and the other out of state worker.  However, my local Dickinson co-workers complaining because they were hateful, hostile, unfriendly, and uncooperative, caused the company to not provide housing like they had said they would when I was being hired.

Next, my local Dickinson co-workers began complaining that it was not right for me and the other out of state worker to be able to stay in a camper on the company property, for free.  I explained to my local co-workers when they complained about me staying in my camper on the company property, “I have a home like you do, but my home is in another state.  I have to pay all the same housing bills as you do, house payments, property tax, home insurance, and utilities, for my home in Idaho.  I don’t want or need two homes.  I can’t afford to pay for two homes.”

I found out at the first company that I worked for in Dickinson, and at the second company that I worked for in Dickinson, that the local people hate people from out of state.  Anything you say, or anything that they find out about you, just makes them hate you more.  Even saying something innocuous, just makes them hate you more.  Anything you say, or anything you tell them, they will spend all day trying to figure out how to use it against you.

After everything that I have experienced in Dickinson for the five years that I have lived here, I need to warn out of state workers, to plan before you ever arrive in Dickinson, to have as little to do as possible with your local Dickinson co-workers, and have as little involvement as possible in Dickinson.  The more that people find out about you in Dickinson, the more problems you will have.  The more that you become involved in Dickinson, the more problems you will have.

At the first company that I worked for in Dickinson, my employer asked me what I thought about Dickinson.  I knew what he was getting at, he wanted to know if I was planning on staying in Dickinson.  I said the only positive thing that I could think of, I said that I thought it was nice that Dickinson had a lot of undeveloped land and was not over crowded.  However, what I was thinking in my mind, was that I was not about to try to stay in Dickinson.  The least expensive old one bedroom apartments rented for $1,500 per month if you could even find one available, and it would be in a wretched building and a bad neighborhood.  I was not about to sell my quiet peaceful home in Idaho on five acres, in order to buy a horrible shitty townhome in a bad neighborhood in Dickinson for $120,000.

What employers and local co-workers were always trying to find out, was how invested and how trapped were you going to become in Dickinson.  The employers and local co-workers knew that the out of state workers would have to pay 400% to 500% more than they did for housing, and they really enjoyed this.  The local people in Dickinson are hateful and hostile to out of state workers, and they actually enjoyed and took satisfaction in knowing that the out of state workers were being taken advantage of tremendously on housing.  The employers and local co-workers were very interested in finding out what your plans were.  They wanted to find out if you were going to stay, they enjoyed finding out how much you had to pay for housing, and they wanted to determine how financially burdened and how trapped you were becoming.

Any hesitation or resistance that an out of state worker showed to becoming committed to paying for extremely high housing, was seen by employers and local co-workers as an indication that a worker was not planning on staying, and they didn’t like it.  They didn’t like it because you might be planning on quitting your job and leaving Dickinson, and they didn’t like it because you deprived them of the satisfaction of being taken advantage of by the local people, one of them.

I recommend to out of state workers, and I have been recommending this for the past 2-1/2 years, do not buy a home in Dickinson at this time.  The home prices are still very high.  The oil boom is over.  The number of oil field jobs may stay roughly the same, or there may be a decrease in oil field jobs.  There are a tremendous number of newly completed apartments in Dickinson, and the occupancy rates at these new apartments is below 50%.  Housing prices will continue to decline, home prices will continue to decline.  Do not buy a house in Dickinson now, because in two years houses in Dickinson could easily be worth 20% to 50% less.  Also, you face the possibility of not being able to sell your house in Dickinson.

I saw that the employers in Dickinson and the local co-workers were interested in what the out of state workers were going to do for housing, because they enjoyed finding out how bad the out of state workers were being gouged by the local people, and they were looking forward to the out of state workers becoming trapped here.  The employers wanted the out of state workers to get into an expensive housing lease or mortgage, so that they would have no choice, they would be stuck here and have to work for them.  The employers were also looking forward to the out of state workers getting into an expensive lease or mortgage, being stuck here, having to work for them, and then employers being able to drop the pay rates.

When I found an inexpensive and stable place to live in Dickinson, I brought over from Idaho, two extra trucks, two equipment trailers, and equipment to begin doing self employed construction work in Dickinson.  I later regretted doing this.  I was again taught the lesson to have as little involvement as possible in Dickinson.

My landlord became more difficult and disagreeable, once he saw that I had so much equipment and property here in Dickinson, that I could not easily leave, that I was stuck here.  When I started moving my equipment back to Idaho in preparation for moving out, my landlord changed his behavior immediately.  I regretted becoming invested in Dickinson, trying to do business here, bringing vehicles, equipment, and personal property here, then a local person knowing my situation, thinking that I was stuck here, and then trying to take advantage.

When I had to re-buy $800 worth of equipment that I had just taken back to Idaho, from a local equipment dealer in Dickinson that I bought this equipment from last year, the local business owner was incredibly shitty to me.  A few days ago when I was talking to another local business owner, who I had bought a generator from, this local business owner was also incredibly shitty to me.  I regretted doing business with these local business owners in Dickinson, and I regretted trying to operate my business in Dickinson.

When I began to think about my experiences here in Dickinson, I regretted just about every involvement in anything here in Dickinson.  Going out to eat at restaurants, going out to bars, the staff are not friendly, and the customers are often very trashy and low class.  Leaving restaurants and bars, the police in Dickinson are very aggressive in following people, hoping and trying to arrest them for something.

Public recreational places like Patterson Lake and the West River Community Center are often not good places to be, because of misbehaving people and hoodlums.  Business owners that I have bought multiple pieces of equipment from have turned out to be very unappreciative and nasty.  Co-workers that I have tried to be civil to have caused me problems.  Local people that I have tried to be friends with, have shown to be unhelpful and greedy.  People that I have helped, have been unappreciative and have caused me problems.

If I had good sense, I would follow my own advice, and try to have as little involvement as possible in Dickinson.  Don’t go to restaurants and bars in Dickinson.  Don’t go to locally owned businesses in Dickinson.  Try to spend as little money as possible in Dickinson.  Pay as little as possible for housing in Dickinson, don’t get on a lease, and don’t buy a house.  Don’t go anywhere, stay at home, and only go to WalMart when you need something.  Try to save as much money as possible so that you can leave Dickinson and have a normal life elsewhere one day.

Concern About Children In Dickinson, North Dakota

Approximately one year ago, I wrote a blog post titled “Children Do Not Play In Dickinson, North Dakota.”  In that blog post I wrote that I hardly ever see children playing in Dickinson.  I don’t see them in the street, in their yards, or in their neighborhoods throwing balls, rocks, frisbees, boomerangs, or spears.  I don’t see them riding bicycles, jumping ramps, building ramps, building forts, or building tree houses.  I don’t see them walking to convenience stores or grocery stores to buy candy or soda.

I wondered why I don’t see children playing, like children used to play when I was a kid.  I will give a few reasons that I could think of why children don’t play in Dickinson:

  1.   Both the mother and father work, and they have instructed their children, “Come straight home after school, get off the school bus and go right in the house, do not leave the house, do not go outside, do not break anything, do not get hurt.  Your mother and father can’t leave work to respond to an emergency, so don’t make us lose our jobs.”
  2.  The mother and father are struggling financially, they are very scared of hospital and medical bills, and they are always telling their children, “Get out of that tree, don’t climb that tree, get off the roof, get down from the roof, you stay away from that river, you stay away from that lake, get out of the street, don’t play in the street, stay away from those kids, I don’t want you playing with those kids, I don’t want you riding your bicycle, I don’t want you playing football……We can’t afford for you to get hurt.”
  3.   I have seen some parents, especially women, that think everything their children do is a nuisance, and they try to eliminate everything, “I don’t want you making a mess, I don’t want you getting dirty, I don’t want you ruining your clothes, I don’t want you getting hurt, I don’t want to take you there, I don’t want to come and get you, I don’t want you going over there, I don’t want them coming over here, I can’t afford that, we don’t have the money for that, I’m not wasting money on that.”

There is a small percentage of families in Dickinson, where the parents think that it is important for their children to do things, and they are able to spend some money on their children, and they have the time to drop their kids off and pick them up from cub scouts, boy scouts, girl scouts, soccer practice, swimming practice, hockey practice, tennis lessons, or music lessons.  Maybe 10% to 15% of families in Dickinson do this with their children.

I feel bad for the other 85% of children in Dickinson, that stay inside, mostly because they are instructed to do so by their parents.  As I already described in the numbered lists above, their parents don’t want them getting hurt or getting into any kind of trouble.

At the West River Community Center in Dickinson, which is one of the nicest gym facilities in the United States, 10% to 15% of the parents in Dickinson drop their kids off for swimming practice, basketball practice, or hockey practice.  About another 10% of the families in Dickinson encourage their children to go to the West River Community Center on their own.  But this still leaves about 75% of the children in Dickinson staying inside at home.

I am concerned about 75% of the children in Dickinson staying inside at home.  This is not good for a number of reasons.  They are not getting enough exercise, they are not developing strength, stamina, agility, balance, confidence, and learning their own abilities.  I don’t think that things should be like this, especially because Dickinson has so much open space.

In many areas of the country, they used to have summer programs.  Some summer programs were organized and sponsored by the Parks & Recreation Department, some were sponsored by churches, and some were “Outward Bound” programs.

Before any readers start complaining, “They already have the cub scouts, girl scouts, boy scouts, and little league baseball in Dickinson”, you have got to remember that only 10% to 15% of families in Dickinson participate in these organizations, for various reasons.  Some of the reasons for non-participation include the requirement/expectation to be at every meeting/practice, penalization for not being at meetings/practice, competitiveness, politics, favoritism, and lack of enjoyment by non-athletic children.

I am concerned about the 75% of children in Dickinson that stay inside at home, and are not participating in scouts, team sports, lessons, or the West River Community Center.  I want to talk about the possibilities for other summer programs.

This past summer, I was having a discussion with a well known Dickinson musician named “Boston Steve”, who is in his sixties, and moved here from Portland, Maine in 2014 with his wife Melissa.  I was talking about Patterson Lake, and how nice it was that Dickinson has this lake right in the city.  Boston Steve said, that he had to proposed to some people, having about ten Sunfish sailboats at Patterson Lake to teach kids how to sail in the summer.  He said that he would volunteer for free, if someone would provide the boats.  I thought that this was an excellent idea.

When Boston Steve was a kid, and when I was kid, I used to go sailing quite often.  Sometimes on larger boats with other people, but also by myself on two-person boats.  These were some of the best times in my life.  On a nice warm day as a kid, I could not wait to get to the water, to put the mast, rudder, and centerboard on a boat, to wade out into the water with it, to jump in, and silently and effortlessly take off going 5 mph to 10  mph, without having to peddle or paddle!

Boston Steve was not an uptight asshole, a drill sergeant, or a coach like some youth activity directors.  All he was talking about was having kids sign up, giving them all swimming lessons, and having every one of them wear life jackets.  Teaching them in a friendly manner, knowing that all the kids couldn’t wait to get in the water and get in a boat.  And at first, not allowing anyone to go past the rope line and buoys.  He would not have had many demands, rules, or expectations.  It was for fun, not a competition.

The sailing would not have to cost the kids or their families anything.  It would be nice if a city transit bus, or another transit service could pick the kids up and drop them off.

If you can have a sailing class for kids in the summer, you can also have a horseback riding class in the summer, and also a hiking class on local buttes.  Every week, the hiking class could climb a different local butte.

The Dickinson Summer Outdoor Recreation Program Schedule could be:

Mon. 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon……….Kids Rock Climbing Wall Class at WRCC

Tue. 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon…………Kids Sailing Class at Patterson Lake

Wed. 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon……….Kids Horseback Riding Class at Fairgrounds

Thu. 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon…………Kids Sailing Class at Patterson Lake

Fri. 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m……………….*Kids Butte Climb (new location each week)

Sat. 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon…………..*Kids Mountain Bike (new location each week)

*Parents welcome to climb or ride along.

What would the costs be?  Let us say that each class requires two WRCC personnel, in addition to an unpaid volunteer or two.  14 hours of classes x 2 employees x $30/ hour = $840 per week.  (I use $30 to account for the wage, plus payroll taxes, plus workers comp., plus overhead).  12 weeks x $840 = $10,080.  This is the labor cost for the summer.

What do the horses cost?  Could someone provide 6 to 8 horses with saddles for two hours, once a week for $500?  12 week x $500 = $6,000.

What do the Sunfishes or equal cost?  Used ones, about $500 to $1,000 each.  10 x $800 avg. each = $8,000 one time cost.  Twenty-five life jacket = $1,000 one time cost.

What do the Mountain Bikes and BMX Bikes cost?  They cost just about nothing if you take what the City of Dickinson Police Department has in lost and stolen bicycles.  I have bought five of these bicycles for $25 each, and they don’t cost a lot to fix.  There are about fifty for sale at the Dickinson Public Auction each summer.  The inmates at the jail could fix them.  Tires, tubes, and twenty five helmets = $1,000.

Of course, of course there has to be liability insurance to cover the liability of Rock Climbing Wall class, Sailing class, Horseback Riding Class, Butte Hiking class, and Mountain Bike riding class.  What would this insurance cost be, $10,000 each summer?

Labor Cost……………$10,080

Horses…………………..$6,000

Bicycles………………..$1,000

Insurance……………..$10,000

Total = $27,080 per summer

The sailboats and life jackets would be a one time cost of $9,000.

Where does the money come from, this $27,000 per summer?  Many activities in Dickinson, such as the downtown summer concerts, raise more money than this through donations and sponsors.

The Theodore Roosevelt Airport, West River Community Center, WRCC Hockey Center, Beisiot Activities Center, St. Joseph’s Hospital, other facilities, and projects were funded through private donations.  It should be a goal of the Dickinson Parks & Recreation Department, to seek to create a charitable trust with the help of private individuals, to permanently fund summer recreation programs for children in Dickinson.  Old people like children, they don’t have anything against the poor little children.  Just a $1 million endowment, could permanently fund a $30,000 summer program.  But you would continue to seek donations to keep growing this fund.

Warning About Patterson Lake In Dickinson, North Dakota

In May of 2011 when I first came to Dickinson, North Dakota to work in the oil field, I began going to Patterson Lake on the weekends.  Patterson Lake is just a few miles from downtown Dickinson.  During that summer, on the north shore of the lake where they had public parking, a beach, boat ramp, cook out grills, and campground, there would be several hundred people on Saturday and Sunday.

When I returned to Dickinson in May of 2013, I was disappointed to see that on every weekend that summer there were fewer than fifty people at Patterson Lake beach.  It was kind of lonely.  I talked to other people to ask what happened, what changed.  I came to the conclusion that the Dickinson State University girls became tired of being ogled by both the out of state oil field workers and the local men, that the out of state oil field workers became tired of the locals, and the locals became tired of the out of state oil field workers.  The DSU students, the out of state oil field workers, and the locals all quit going to Patterson Lake in the summer.

I still enjoyed going to Patterson Lake.  I would sit in a beach chair and read, swim, cook out with friends, go kayaking, and walk my dog.  But often times there were very few people at Patterson Lake.  On the north shore of the lake, the paved public parking area had the capacity for approximately six hundred vehicles, and there would be only six vehicles.

In 2013, I began to see some things that I didn’t like at Patterson Lake.  I would park in the nearly completely vacant main parking lot on the north shore of the lake, and walk east along the trails and along the shore line to the end of the park to follow the trail loop.  At the very last parking area, about 1/2 mile from the main parking area, fairly often there would be a parked vehicle with a couple of Hispanic males in it.  At the very last parking area, I never once in the past four years saw these people who parked like this walking, exercising, bicycling, playing frisbee, or cooking out.  What I did see, was other vehicles enter the park not slowing down for anything and drive 35 mph to 40 mph all the way back to the last parking area, and then leave within five minutes driving 35 mph all the way back out of the park, looking straight ahead not at the scenery, and not slowing down for anything.

There was no reason for adult males to be sitting in a parked car at the most distant and remote area of the park, and having other vehicles drive fast through the park to get back there, and then quickly leave, other than for drug dealing, or other illegal activity.  I didn’t like walking the trails and shore line, and on the way back come across this activity.  I felt like talking to the police about it, but I believed that I wouldn’t be telling them anything that they didn’t already know.

Sometime in 2016, improvements were made to the north side of Patterson Lake.  Two new additional children’s play grounds were constructed adjacent to the main parking area.  A wide concrete path was constructed for walking, rollerblading, and bike riding that makes a big loop through park.  In the past, most of the people that I saw walking through the park, were exercising large dogs.  Now with the new wide concrete path and new playgrounds, I have seen many more women and women with children using the park.

I had been concerned about women walking the park by themselves in the past, because of the strange males that would park and sit in their cars in the most distant and remote area of the park.  When I saw more women and women with children coming to the park and walking the new concrete paths that lead out to the distant and remote areas of the park, I was even more worried, because these women seemed to be under the impression that it was safe now.  No, it is not entirely safe.  The concrete paths are only thirty feet from the woods in areas of the park where the users are far from the parking lot, so far they can’t be seen, and so far they can’t be heard.  It is possible for a male to wait in the woods, leap out, and grab someone and drag them back into the woods, without there being any witnesses.

In the Fall of 2016, I observed an adult male at Patterson Lake that was behaving very strangely.  He was not relaxing, resting, exercising, or recreating, he was acting very agitated.  He would drive to an area of the park, look, then drive to another area of the park look, then drive on, until he made it back to the main parking area. He got out of his car and behaved strangely, he acted like he was mentally ill.

The next time that I went to Patterson Lake, I parked in the main parking area and I began writing checks to pay bills, looking up from time to time.  There was no one else on the north shore of Patterson Lake at that time.  After about fifteen minutes, I saw on the south shore of Patterson Lake something splashing in the water like a person or a large animal.  I got out of my vehicle to walk on the new concrete path down to the edge of the north shore of the lake to see what it was in the water on the south side.  I stood there and I looked and I looked, and all of a sudden about seventy feet from me, here comes that strange mentally ill man jumping out of the bushes right beside the concrete path.  I had spooked him, he had thought that I had spotted him hiding in the bushes, but I hadn’t known he was there, he startled me.

I can only guess why he was hiding in the bushes right beside the concrete path.  I wrote down the license plate number of his vehicle, a description of his vehicle, a description of him, and how he had been acting, and I gave this in writing to a Sheriffs officer.  After I left, I believe that the Sheriff officer probably ran the license plate number to see if this person had been convicted of any type of assault in the past.

I want women who visit Patterson Lake or plan on visiting Patterson Lake, to not get on the trails, shoreline, or concrete paths alone, and follow them out into a remote and hidden area.  I have been going to Patterson Lake regularly for more than four years, and I have seen strange men parked in the remote areas, and, hiding in the bushes.

Here is a video of Patterson Lake in Dickinson, North Dakota: