Area Status: Open
The Sheyenne National Grassland is located in southeastern North Dakota, comprising 70,180 acres (28,400 ha) of public land amid 64,769 acres (26,211 ha) of privately owned land. It is characterized by sandy soils, originally deposited as a delta of an ancient river as it emptied into glacial Lake Agassiz. Since that time, the wind and rain have shaped the topography into a unique landscape ranging from flat deltaic plains to choppy sand dunes.
It is the only National Grassland in the tallgrass prairie region of the United States. The grassland provides habitat for greater prairie chickens in North Dakota as well as several other sensitive species such as the Dakota skipper and Regal Fritillary. It also contains one of largest populations of the western prairie fringed orchid, which has been placed on the list of Threatened Species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Other unique plants found on the grassland include other orchids and ferns.
The grassland is managed with prescribed grazing, fire, and mowing. These programs are all managed in cooperation with the local grazing association. Treatment of noxious weeds is also very important and is accomplished through herbicide application, biocontrol, and sheep grazing.
Recreation opportunities abound throughout the grassland. Visitors can enjoy activities such as hiking, hunting, camping, horseback riding, photography, and backpacking. See Activities section below for detailed descriptions. Some points of interest to visit while on the grassland include: Iron Springs creek, the Horseshoe Hills, Old Bridges, Owego Pioneer Cemetery, and an Old Fire Lookout Tower.
The grassland is located in eastern Ransom and western Richland counties, about 12 miles (19km) east of the city of Lisbon. The grassland is administered by the Forest Service as part of the Dakota Prairie Grasslands from the Supervisor’s office in Bismarck, North Dakota. The local Sheyenne Ranger District office is located in Lisbon, North Dakota.
Other places of interest in the vicinity of the Sheyenne National Grassland:
In the heart of the Sheyenne National Grassland is the town of McLeod, North Dakota. Visitors can learn about the area’s history, including some of the Grassland’s history in the McLeod Museum Complex. The museum complex includes the Presbyterian Church built in 1909; the Soo Line Depot; a homestead house built in the late 1800’s; and a one-room school house which operated from 1904-2002. McLeod is located three miles south of Highway 27 on County Road 54 or 149th Avenue SE.
The Nature Conservancy operates the Brown Ranch through their Sheyenne Delta office located just a few miles southwest of McLeod, ND. Some of this land is managed in conjunction with the Sheyenne National Grassland.
Explore the Seven Wonders of Ransom County.