Grahams Island road has come a long way

Sue Kraft, Lifestyles Editor
Gov. Jack Dalrymple and Devils Lake Mayor Dick Johnson cut the ribbon on the recently completed $15 million road raise project at Grahams Island State Park. The road was raised six feet to an elevation of 1,461 feet above mean sea level (msl).

There was excitement in the air at Grahams Island State Park on Friday as local and state officials gathered to celebrate the completion of a $15 million road raise project.

“This is not only a permanent road into Grahams Island State Park for the rest of time, this is also a symbol of the progress we're making in the region getting control of the whole lake situation — and that's something to celebrate,” said Gov. Jack Dalrymple, who was one of several speakers.

Dalrymple said when he took office he had no idea how acquainted he would become with the Devils Lake mayor, Dick Johnson.

“He gets no credit, I know his pay isn't that great,” Dalrymple said, “I really admire Dick for stepping up.”

He also thanked N.D. Parks and Recreation Director Mark Zimmerman and Park Manager Henry Duray for doing whatever they had to do to keep the park open.

“We had many days where they had snowplows pushing debris off the roadway so people could get to the park,” he said. “That's going above the call of duty.”

Also taking the podium were Johnson, Zimmerman, Duray and Benson County Commissioner Mike Steffen. Ramsey County Commissioner Joe Belford was in attendance but didn't speak. Senator John Hoeven and Rep. Rick Berg both sent letters of congratulations to be read by their respective staff members.

Duray said, “When we starteed working on this thing, we were told it would be tough to pull it off, but a number of people came together... and got the wheels in motion.”

Duray said there is some chip and seal work to do this week and the project will be completely done.

Grahams Island is one of the top travel destinations in the state with an estimated 100,000 visitors annually.

“This is an incredibly popular place and we are pleased to say it will be open from here on out,” Dalrymple said.