Welcome to the neighborhood, Heritage River Landing


Heritage River Landing Launches Phase II Campaign

When the flood of 2011 swallowed the old Wilton Train Depot and Captain Meriwether’s Landing, it left a hole on the riverbank in Bismarck.

“Everyone loved Meriwether’s, sitting out on that deck, enjoying a perfect summer evening, and we want to bring that experience back for Bismarck-Mandan,” said Sheri Grossman, CEO of the Bismarck-Mandan Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

Grossman serves on the board of directors for the Fort Abraham Lincoln Foundation.

Over the past year, the Foundation has been quietly conducting a capital campaign to build a community event space and visitor center that will fill that empty spot. The Heritage River Landing will house a bar and restaurant, a gift shop with ticket sales for the Lewis and Clark Riverboat, and an interactive kiosk to encourage visitors to explore the many scenic, historic, and recreational sites along the Missouri River.

Former Bismarck Mayor John Warford and retired ND National Guard Adjutant General David Sprynczynatyk are co-chairing a newly launched Phase II of the campaign.

“Bismarck-Mandan is all about livability,” said Warford. “This facility will complement the riverfront parks and trails. It will enhance quality of place.”

Sprynczynatyk and Warford have teamed up before. Together, they battled that epic 2011 flood.

“We have an opportunity here,” Sprynczynatyk said. “If we learned anything from the flood, it was about the community coming together. We can do it again. We can get this done.”

The Foundation is halfway to its $1.5 million goal. As part of the campaign, the organization is rebranding itself The Missouri Valley Heritage Alliance. According to Executive Director Aaron Barth, the new name is a better fit for what the Foundation is doing.

“Our mission is to connect people and place through heritage tourism and education,” he said. “The Missouri River Valley is a big place with nationally important heritage. There are historic sites and state parks and incredible natural areas. We want to get people out there. We want them to experience these special places here in our own backyard.”

The Heritage River Landing will serve as the interpretive headquarters for the Northern Plains National Heritage Area, one of 49 National Heritage Areas overseen by the National Park Service. The Northern Plains National Heritage Area connects and elevates city, county, state, Federal, and nonprofit public sites and locations on the Missouri River in central North Dakota to a national profile.

“Visitors from across the nation and world can more easily find and are drawn to public sites and locations within National Heritage Areas,” said Barth. “This translates to more outdoor heritage recreation and education. The Heritage River Landing will orient visitors to all of that.”

When campaign goals are met this year, construction of the Heritage River Landing will begin. For more information, contact the Fort Abraham Lincoln Foundation, 701-663-4758, or visit www.fortlincoln.org and www.northernplainsheritage.org.