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May 21, 2016   Comments Off on An actor’s travel guide to North Dakota News and rumors

The North Dakota Tourism Division is basing much of its 2016 campaign around actor Josh Duhamel, a North Dakota native.

In print advertising, on TV talk shows, on the cover of the state travel guide and on the internet, Duhamel is seen visiting his home state and talking about his favorite places to visit and favorite things to do in North Dakota.

Duhamel, of course, lives in southern California with his wife, Stacie Ann Ferguson (better known as Fergie, from the Black Eyed Peas), and their son. But Duhamel, who was born and reared in Minot, and attended Minot State University, has kept in touch with his home state.

Asked in one ad for his favorite things to do in North Dakota, Duhamel responded, “Beside pushing hay bales, it’s seeing family and friends, spending time at Lake Metigoshe, driving to Fargo to see my dad, and stopping in small towns I have never been to and grabbing a beer with locals.”

And if you don’t believe him, there is a series of promotional videos on YouTube showing Duhamel driving, biking and hiking across North Dakota.

To film the videos, “We spent eight days going across the state, seeing things I had never seen before,” Duhamel said on the Today Show. “It’s beautiful. It’s one of the best-kept secrets in the country.”

One of those videos shows Duhamel in perhaps the state’s top tourist attraction, Theodore Roosevelt National Park. That’s especially fitting this year, because 2016 is the centennial year of the founding of the National Park Service — which Roosevelt was instrumental in getting started.

Despite Duhamel’s fame, Roosevelt is probably still the most famous former resident of North Dakota. Roosevelt, a city slicker from New York, came to what was then simply Dakota in the 1880s, first to hunt and then to establish a cattle ranch in the western reaches of the territory. It’s a region of stark beauty, with badlands, prairie and wide open spaces aplenty.

Here are a few more of Duhamel’s favorite places in North Dakota:

— Fort Mandan and the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, near Washburn (about 40 miles north of Bismarck). This is where the Lewis & Clark expedition spent the winter of 1804-05 and made the acquaintance of Sacagawea. The fort has been reconstructed and is hands-on experience for kids of all ages.

— Golfing at Bully Pulpit Golf Course, Medora. With fairways winding through the badlands, this course is challenging and scenic. Golf Digest named it as “One of America’s Top 100 Public Courses” in 2013 and 2014.

— Lake Sakakawea State Park, near Pick City. The lake is a section of the Missouri River formed by the Garrison Dam. The park, located on the south shore of the lake, has a full-service marina. Duhamel says this is one of his favorite fishing spots.

— North Dakota’s surprising cities, in particular Fargo, which gets featured in a Duhamel video that shows the star dancing at a street party in front of the historic Fargo Theatre with North Dakota State University and University of North Dakota cheerleaders. One school (NDSU) is the current NCAA Championship Subdivsion national football champion, and the other (UND) is the current NCAA national hockey champion. [Source]

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