Camp Grafton was once known as Rock Island Military Reservation. In 1921 it was renamed Camp Gilbert C. Grafton in honor of the Lieutenant Colonel from North Dakota who died in World War I. Camp Grafton was formed in 1904 when 1,500 acres of land was ceded by the federal government to the state of North Dakota to be used as a permanent military reservation for the North Dakota National Guard.
Devils Lake is the second largest body of water in North Dakota and the largest natural body of water in the state. It is a popular place to go open water fishing and ice fishing and is considered the perch capital of the world. The lake is home to the Sullys Hill National Game Preserve, located on the southern shore of Devils Lake. Grahams Island State Park encompasses an entire island located within the lake. The lake was at one time home to Black Tiger State Recreation Area and the Shelvers Grove State Recreation Area but both areas have since closed due to flooding.
Devils Lake is prone to flooding, primarily because it is a closed lake of a drainage basin. Though the lake is usually shallow, levels can flucuate greatly. Recently, water levels have been rising every year and threaten to flood not only Camp Grafton but also the towns, homes, businesses and farmlands surrounding the lake.
Camp Grafton South is located on 10,000 acres of eastern tall grass prairies and western mixed grass prairies. Prairies containing both are known as transitional grasslands. Camp Grafton South is one of the largest contiguous transitional grasslands in the state. Since 1920, the grasslands have been used for grazing as well as a combat training area. To maintain the grassland as a grazing area, the grasslands are leased to local ranchers and the money from the grazing licenses are reinvested into the training facility.
Article Written By Alice Moon
Alice Moon is a freelance writer with more than 10 years of experience. She was chosen as a Smithsonian Institute intern, working for the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and has traveled throughout Asia. Moon holds a Bachelor of Science in political science from Ball State University.