Recreation & Enjoyment

Gaukler Family Wellness Center

The Gaukler Family Wellness Center was opened in October of 2016 and features basketball courts, indoor pool with hot tub, upper level fitness area with walking track, multiple classrooms for group fitness, an indoor playground, and a coffee/smoothie bar. The Wellness Center also houses the classrooms, labs and offices for Valley City State University’s Department of Kinesiology and Human Performance, which includes programs in athletic training, health education, physical education, exercise physiology, sport management, strength and conditioning and wellness studies.


Lake Ashtabula

Lake Ashtabula was created by the construction of the Baldhill Dam on the Sheyenne River in 1944, and is situated in one of the most scenic river valleys in the region. Visitors can choose from a wide range of recreation opportunities year-round, including ice fishing and cross-country skiing during winter months. The lake area lies amidst the 'prairie potholes' region of glacially-carved lakes in North Dakota. Bountiful migratory water birds flock to Lake Ashtabula, including the unique white pelican, which can be seen in large quantities during summer. The region also provides habitat for white-tailed deer, sharptail grouse, wild turkey and gray partridge. There is no shortage of recreation opportunities and outdoor fun in and around the lake.

The name "Ashtabula" is a Native American word meaning "Fish River," which suits the lake's fish population; popular species include walleye, northern pike, white bass, yellow perch and black bullhead. With seven boat ramps, two accessible fishing piers and four automated fish cleaning stations, the lake is very convenient for anglers.

The lake is approximately 27 miles long and orientates north to south. Nearly 3,000 acres of land around the lake is managed as wildlife habitat by the Corps of Engineers and open to the public for wildlife viewing, birding, hiking and hunting. There are three designated swimming areas around the lake. Seven boat launching ramps are maintained to provide boaters and fisherman access to all areas of the lake. Picnic facilities and playgrounds are located at most sites. All sites have access to drinking water and rest rooms. Campers can also reach the 63-mile Sheyenne River Valley National Scenic Byway and access nearly 35 miles of the North Country National Scenic Trail within a short drive.    Click Here for a map of Lake Ashtabula.


Valley City Parks & Recreation

The Valley City Parks & Recreation District's goal is to provide recreational opportunities for all ages, whether that be through programs or facilities. They presently provide various activities throughout the year for youth and adults. Valley City Parks & Recreation currently maintains and manages the Gaukler Family Wellness Center, seven beautiful parks, a 9-hole municipal golf course, an outdoor swimming pool, two tennis court complexes, three softball/baseball complexes, a skate park, a 9-hole disc golf course, a campground, and the Rec Center.


Barnes County Museum

The Barnes County Historical Society is an 18,000-square-foot facility dedicated to telling the history of Barnes County specifically and adjacent areas generally. It features frequently changing exhibits and special traveling exhibits, lecture, and events over the course of the year. On display is "Gundy the Triceratops." Valley City's Mike Triebold, of Triebold Paleontology, discovered Gundy in 1992 on private ranchland in the Hell Creek Formation deposits of northwestern South Dakota. The museum also has an HO scale model of the Hi-Line Bridge, the shoes of Christian Paetow known as the Largest Man in Dakota Territory and the oldest registered car in North Dakota, a 1901 Oldsmobile among many other artifacts of local historical connection and genealogical archives as well. 


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