The International Peace Garden – An Enchanted Walk

Dunseith, North Dakota.

In 2019, a friend and I flew into the International Peace Garden Airport, a short walk from the joint project of the Manitoba and North Dakota governments. A photo from that visit is my opening image.

In September 2021, my wife and I, along with our traveling companions, Pat and Gary, had the opportunity to visit the gardens. On my earlier visit, though the garden is open from 8 AM to 8 PM all year, the cafe and gift shops were closed, but this year, our group arrived early enough that the major venues were still open for a few more days.

Peacegarden 2021-1

Since we arrived by automobile, we were able to visit a larger part of the park, we were also able to explore the two lakes that are enclosed in the 2,300 acres. When I first saw the gardens walking in near the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol office, I didn’t even know these areas existed.

Peacegarden 2021-5

I never tire of the fact that the park is divided in half, from the vantage point above, I am standing in two countries, my left side in the United States, my right side in Canada. That dividing line down the center of the image is the border of these two friendly nations.

Peacegarden 2021-6

The gardens have been closed to Canadians since almost the beginning of the Pandemic. As of this writing in November 2021, the border is now open again, though there are protocol restrictions for Canadians entering the park.

Peacegarden 2021-4

When you enter the garden from either country, you are leaving the country you came from, but unless you visit the Customs office on the other side, you’re not in either country anymore. To be on the safe side, we brought our passports with us for when we returned to the United States (even though we never actually attempted to go through Canadian Customs as the border into Canada was closed for us anyway.)

As of this writing, if you don’t have a passport, and you are a U.S. citizen, to re-enter the country, International Peace Garden does have a waiver on the passport regulations, but that method has some documentary restrictions including documented proof of citizenship that make it much easier to show the border patrol agents a valid passport. I hesitate to publish any variance from supplying a passport as those protocols could change and leave you stuck outside the United States trying to come up with ways to verify your citizenship. Please review travel guidelines for the park prior to entry for your own sake.

Peacegarden 2021-4

Canadians can now enter the gardens but are required to complete certain protocols prior to re-entering the country. As this is written in November 2021, and scheduled for publication in January 2022, those protocols may be different, so I won’t reference them here. I’d hate to provide old information and have anyone get stuck outside their home country because they followed my advice.

No matter what country you are from, don’t let these border complications discourage you from visiting this special place that celebrates the friendship between two nations.

Peacegarden 2021-2

I hesitate to say that after living in North Dakota for over 40 years, it was only in the last two years that I took the time and effort to visit these beautiful gardens. If you are traveling east or west through North Dakota on the Interstate (I-94), it’s about two hours, 30 minutes to the park, and you can continue west- or eastbound along U.S. Highway 2 from Rugby which is about 45 minutes south of the Gardens. Consider also driving along the Turtle Mountain Scenic Byway for some beautiful views of North Dakota. I will feature other attractions in northern North Dakota in future Travel Tuesday posts.

For more views of the International Peace Garden, click on any of the images above for a closer look in 2K HD. I also have two Flickr albums that feature all of the photos I’ve shared from the gardens here and here. For those interested, I have more information about the gardens from the viewpoint of that 2019 visit here. The International Peace Garden website is here.

John Steiner

10 comments

  1. It looks like a paradise for visitors but an administrative nightmare. Compared to EU countries where you can cross borders without even seeing a customs officer.

    • Indeed, it didn’t used to be that way. People could come and go, and if an official had questions, a driver’s license or other ID was all that was necessary.
      These days we have a segment of our population that believes Canadians in clown cars might just show up and illegally immigrate. >grin<

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