The army established Fort Sisseton in northeastern South Dakota in 1864 to protect Dakota Territory settlers. In the 1930s, the Works Progress Administration began to restore 14 of its buildings. Today, the fort (25 mi/40 km west of the town of Sisseton) is a state park and one of the nation's best-preserved frontier outposts. Fifteen stone and brick buildings are open to visitors. Start your visit at the North Barracks, where you'll find a visitors center and museum. As you make your way around the parade ground, you'll pass a guardhouse, the officers' quarters and other fort sites. Every year in early June, re-enactors gather at the park for the two-day Fort Sisseton Historical Festival, which includes cavalry troops, black-powder riflemen, a rendezvous camp, Native Americans and various artisans. In December, the park hosts Fort Sisseton's Frontier Christmas, complete with sleigh rides, classic crafts and living-history demonstrations.
Waubay National Wildlife Refuge is 33 mi/53 km southeast of the fort. It's home to at least 240 species of birds, including giant Canada geese. There's an interpretive trail, and limited deer hunting is permitted nearby in season. Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge is 44 mi/71 km west of Fort Sisseton and is an excellent place for bird-watching. It's home to lots of waterfowl, deer and red foxes, among other residents. Fort Sisseton State Park is 184 mi/296 km north of Sioux Falls.
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