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North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department

Beaver Lake State Park


Local residents gathered at Shepard’s Pavilion (found just south of the present park site) on July 14, 1929, in an effort to promote the creation of a state park. Three years later, in July of 1932, ceremonies dedicated the new state park, honoring the early settlers who lived on the shores of Beaver Lake.

These were hard times. The country was in the midst of the “Great Depression”, and the state suffered a extended devastating drought often referred to as the “Dirty 30s”. Improvements to the park came slowly. In 1933 an agreement with the North Dakota Game and Fish Commission resulted in the damming of Beaver Creek, raising the level of Beaver Lake. In 1935, a Works Progress Administration (WPA) crew was put to work at the park and by the end of 1936 they built roads, pathways, an earthen dock and rock terracing the picnic area. A stone monument (cairn) stands testament to the WPA crew’s effort.

BLSP Cairn

By the late 1930s, O.F. Arntz constructed a native stone cabin on privately held property. Eventually the cabin became residence for park caretakers and was the site of many memorable community fish fries. The horse races were wildly popular as huge crowds gathered to watch.

Beaver Lake State Park is itself a monument to the settlers of Logan, McIntosh and Emmons counties. These hard working North Dakotans also knew the importance of a recreation area to at least find some respite from their long hours of working the soil.

BLSP History