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New Passport to North Dakota History Published

Posted 5/06/08 (Tue)

Contact: Virginia Nelsen
May 6, 2008
(701) 222-1966


BISMARCK – A Passport to North Dakota History, a traveler’s guide to North Dakota historic sites, has been republished with a $25,000 donation from Tesoro. This document was designed with dozens of partners and a development grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) U.S. Forest Service. The 50-page pocket-sized document gives a thumbnail sketch of a variety of sites: the Dakota Prairie Grassland, USDA Forest Service sites in North Dakota such as the Maah Daah Hey Trail; state historic sites such as the Chateau de Mores and Fort Buford; the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora; and Bonanzaville and the Bagg Bonanza Farm near Fargo. It also lists state campgrounds, wildlife refuges, scenic byways, and other interesting attractions statewide.

With support from Tesoro, 50,000 copies of an updated version of the guide will be printed. Potential distribution points include more than 90 Tesoro retail stations, Dakota Prairie Grasslands offices, state historic sites, state parks and recreation areas, among others.

View photos from the Tesoro reception

“This is an excellent opportunity to partner with the Forest Service, the State Historical Society of North Dakota and its Foundation and the State of North Dakota by Tesoro in a truly win-win situation,” said Leif Peterson, Human Resources Manager at the Tesoro Refinery in Mandan, North Dakota. “We are a part of North Dakota. Our operations are here, our employees are here, and what we can do to support the area is good.”

Peterson’s comments were echoed by Tesoro’s Mandan Refinery Manager John Berger. “We are honored to be a part of this program that helps share and celebrate the tradition and history of North Dakota. Tesoro, through our many employees and jobbers, plays an active role in the communities where we operate and market. This is a great opportunity to give back to our residents and visitors, and we encourage folks to utilize the passport to explore and learn more about our great state.”

Said Dave Pieper, USDA US Forest Service, and Dakota Prairie Grasslands Supervisor: “We are very proud to have funded the development of the Passport to North Dakota History. The passport was developed through a partnership forged by Tom Turck, Dakota Prairie Grasslands Archaeologist, between the State Historical Society of North Dakota and its Foundation, the North Dakota Department of Commerce-Tourism Division, Cass-Clay Creamery, Inc. of Fargo, Dan’s SuperMarkets of Bismarck-Mandan-Dickinson and others, and was written during the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial commemoration in North Dakota.”

The Passport to North Dakota History guide has won three national awards. Pieper will present the 2008 Windows on the Past National Award for Excellence to Virginia Nelsen, Executive Director of the State Historical Society of North Dakota (SHSND) Foundation. Later in June, Forest Service Regional Forester Tom Tidwell will give the other awards to Turck and Merv Floodman in Missoula, Montana. Many partners have worked to produce this an award-winning document.

A panel including Turck; Nelsen from the SHSND Foundation; State Historical Society division directors Fern Swenson and Claudia Berg; North Dakota Tourism Director Sara Otte Coleman and North Dakota Tourism staff; Dave Blair, then with United Printing Spit ‘N Image, now M2 Kadrmas, Lee and Jackson; and others conceived the passport project in 2003.

The Passport to North Dakota History has been incorporated into an expanding list of projects that include gathering of tourism and historic sites information, development of a website, teacher resources, and a backpack of materials delivered to school libraries throughout North Dakota for fourth and eighth grade North Dakota Studies classes. One of the most significant aspects of the passport is that it is available on the State Historical Society and Foundation websites and can be fully downloaded and printed. This is a concept conceived and developed by Mike Frohlich and Mark Halvorson, State Historical Society staff members, with writing and editing support from the state history agency’s staff.

State Historical Society of North Dakota website:
State Historical Society of ND Foundation website:

Cass-Clay Creamery, Inc., of Fargo delivered copies of the Passport to North Dakota History to 850 schools throughout the state, as well as the companionLewis and Clark Journey to Discovery backpacks with dozens of resources for classrooms engaged in studying North Dakota history. Cass-Clay also supported this project with Lewis and Clark Fun Facts – 120 million history facts on half-gallon and half-pint milk cartons distributed in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. These Fun Facts were produced by State Historical Society staff members.

Dan’s SuperMarkets of Bismarck-Mandan-Dickinson, North Dakota designed and distributed a truckload of plastic grocery bags bearing the website address for the Passport to North Dakota History. This allowed families and visitors to print their own personal copy of the passport and connect to Lewis and Clark adventures throughout the state.

The passport is available by contacting the State Historical Society of North Dakota Foundation office at (701) 222-1966 or email at

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