Watford City

News and stories of North Dakota’s Wild West are sweeping the nation and the world. The swift rise in population stemming from Bakken oil development has put Watford City and McKenzie County on the map as a rapid growing community full of diverse opportunities for longtime citizens and new residents settling in and calling the community home.

Once a small rural town of 1,200 on the western edge of North Dakota, Watford City has quickly blossomed into a community of over 8,000 people and growing.

This sort of rapid change has created diverse opportunities for both longtime citizens and new residents, and of course, has captured the attention of the world’s media in search of the scoop on the landscape, economy, industry and the everyday people who call this place home.

This isn’t the first time Watford City and McKenzie County have been referred to as the Wild West. Rich in pioneer heritage and history, the community of Watford City is fresh off celebrating their centennial year last summer, and it’s evident that the community on the edge of the beautifully rugged Theodore Roosevelt National Park is holding true to its innovative spirit by recognizing its individuality and building and planning for the future.

Once known as the “Island Empire” the county is bordered by the Yellowstone River, Lake Sakakawea and the Missouri River and the Little Missouri River and prides itself on being home to 500,000 acres of public land.

Because of it location, McKenzie County has a thriving tourism industry enjoyed by guests and residents alike. McKenzie County hosts dozens of tour groups a year out of the Long X Visitor Center and Pioneer Museum where guests are provided with information about the impact that oil development has on the community before taking them out and showing them around.