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North Dakota is a state in the Great Plains of the United States. It's bordered on the west by Montana, on the east by Minnesota, and on the north by the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. It is bordered on the south by South Dakota. North Dakota, the 39th state, was admitted to the Union in 1889. The year 2005 marked the bicentennial celebration of the Lewis and Clark (http://www.lewisandclark.org/) expion which began in Illinois, passed through North Dakota (http://www.ndtourism.com/secondary/index.asp?choice=Lewis_Clark), with help from a Shoshone Indian girl as their guide, Sakakawea (http://www.state.nd.us/hist/sakakawea.htm), on the way to the Pacific Northwest. Map (http://www.lewis-clark.org/content/content-channel.asp?ChannelID=240). North Dakota's 53 counties (http://www.ndaco.org/nd_counties/) cover approximately 70,655 square miles (183,000 square kilometers) and it has a population of approximately 639,000. US Census Bureau QuickFacts (http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/38000.html)
North Dakota is a large, sparsely populated state. It was settled mainly by farmers of Scandinavian and German descent. North Dakota's population has scarcely changed since 1915, but its urban-to-rural ratio has changed dramatically over the years. One-sixth of the people in the state live in Fargo, and that figure is growing all the time. The state's economy is based on its agriculture, food processing, mining, tourism and machinery.
North Dakota is the least-visited state in the union, not surprising given its location. But there is something to be found for those willing to venture into the unknown. North Dakota is living proof that there is much to see and do off the beaten tourist path and in small towns. Outdoor activities abound year round: hiking, biking, camping (tent and RV), boating, fishing, sailing, tubing, birding, photography, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, hunting, archery, and more. If you fancy disc golf (http://www.discgolfnd.com/Courses.htm), there are fourteen regulation courses in the state. Or you can simply take a scenic drive through hills and lakes, badlands, or plains. Military buffs will enjoy visiting the old frontier forts. Nature lovers can see hundreds of species of birds, animals, fish, and wildflowers. Geological formations of almost every type are here. You can dig for fossils or hunt for unique mineral specimens.
Famous North Dakotans include: former CBS newsman Eric Sevareid (Velva, ND), actress Angie Dickinson (Kulm, ND), "Fever" singer Peggy Lee (Jamestown, ND), "bubbling machine" bandleader Lawrence Welk (Strasburg, ND), and author Louis L'Amour (Jamestown, ND).
Scheduled airline service is available in Bismarck, Devils Lake, Dickinson, Fargo, Grand Forks, Jamestown, Minot, and Williston.
Northwest Airlines (http://www.nwa.com/) offers daily flights to all destinations except Dickinson.
United Express (http://www.united.com) serves Williston, Dickinson, Bismarck, and Fargo.
Allegiant Air (http://www.allegiantair.com/) serves Bismarck and Fargo.
Interstate 94 runs east-west through the southern side of the state. Interstate 29 runs north-south on the eastern edge of the state.
US Highway 2 runs east-west through the northern side of the state. US Highways 85, 83, 281, and 81 run north-south through the state. US Highway 52 runs northwest-southeast through the state.
For those of you arriving from Canada, 24-hour customs stations are available at SK 39 (US 52) in Portal, MB 10 (US 281) at the Peace Gardens, and MB 75 (I-29) near Pembina.
Amtrak (http://www.amtrak.com/)'s Empire Builder line serves Fargo, Grand Forks, Devils Lake, Rugby, Minot, Stanley, and Williston.