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U.S. Forest Service

Northern Region Viewing Area


hoary puccoon. Hoary puccoon. Photo source: U.S. Forest Service.

smooth camas. Smooth camas. Photo source: U.S. Forest Service.

blazing star. Blazing star. Photo source: U.S. Forest Service.

narrow leaf sunflower. Narrow leaf sunflower. Photo source: U.S. Forest Service.

Biesterfeld Allotment and Hay Meadow

Forest: Dakota Prairie National Grasslands

District: Sheyenne Ranger District

Description: The Sheyenne Ranger District contains the largest tract of northern tallgrass prairie in public ownership, and supports a key portion of the federally listed western prairie fringed orchid. The Biesterfeld Allotment site provides a great access point to begin your exploration. The North Country Trail provides easy walking, mountain biking, or horseback riding. Be aware that livestock may be present, as this area is grazed annually. Please leave all gates as you find them (i.e. either open or closed). Because of the mix of public and private land ownerships here, a visitor map can be very useful. These maps are for sale at the district office in Lisbon.

The nearby Biesterfeld Hay Meadow is ungrazed, though it is occasionally burned. Native seed is periodically collected here as well.

At both Biesterfeld Allotment and at the Biesterfeld Hay meadow, you will note a variety of grasses, including natives such as: big bluestem, Indian grass, switchgrass, porcupine grass, and prairie junegrass. Common wildflowers include: western wallflower, spiderwort, prairie smoke, hoary puccoon, lead plant, blue-eyed grass, blazing star, purple prairie clover, purple coneflower, Maximilian’s sunflower and white camass.

Safety First:

  • While touring the Nationa Grasslands, be sure to remain alert for other vehicle traffic, livestock, wildlife, and railroad crossings. This is especially important on curves, hilltops, and when stopping along the route. Watch for cattleguards, and reduce speed when crossing.
  • No off-road driving is allowed.
  • Avoid smoking or other open fires during periods of high fire danger.
  • Poison ivy can be found in shaded, woody areas. Wear long pants and adequate footwear.
  • Be prepared for inclement weather. Many of the roads become difficult to travel during periods of heavy rain or snow. Basic passenger vehicles and large recreational vehicles may have difficulty during these periods.
  • There are few rest room facilities available, so be sure to take the appropriate measures necessary for a comfortable trip.
  • It is advised that you obtain a National Grassland map from any U.S. Forest Service office.
  • Be sure to follow the map closely and monitor your location. These precautions will help to ensure that you do not tresspass onto private land.
  • Please don't litter!

Directions: From Lisbon, follow North Dakota Highway 27 east for 10 miles. Turn right (south) on County Road 54 towards Milnor. In three miles, turn left (east) into the parking lot for the North Country trailhead in Biesterfeld Allotment. This trail wanders northeast for 30 miles through the District’s tallgrass prairie, wetlands, burr oak savannah, and quaking aspen groves.

Biesterfeld Hay Meadow is 0.5 mile southeast of the North Country Trailhead. You are welcome to walk there cross-country from the trailhead. If you have a high-clearance vehicle, you can also drive. To do so, from the trailhead drive south on County Road 54 for an additional 0.3 mile. Turn left (east) onto the unmarked two-track road, being sure to shut the gate behind you. Drive east 0.5 mile until you reach the fence line protecting the Hay Meadow. Park here. You can walk in thru the gate. Again, be sure to refasten the gate behind you. No motorized travel is permitted within the Hay Meadow itself.

For information about the Biesterfeld Allotment and Hay Meadow, for maps, and for other information, stop at the U.S. Forest Service office at 1601 Main Street in Lisbon, North Dakota.

Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service, Dakota Prairie Grasslands: Sheyenne Ranger District, (701) 683-4342.

Closest Town: Milnor, North Dakota.