By Dennis K. Johnson
International Peace Garden Airport (S28) is one of six airports that straddle the United States/Canada border. At a few of these, the runway (often turf) is oriented along the border, so that one side is American soil and the other Canadian; you could land with one tire in each country.
Although the runway at International Peace Garden Airport is entirely in the good ol’ USA, by about 125 feet, it has a taxiway and parking area that crosses the border, which makes for a unique way to drive into Canada.
Each of these airports is located near border control posts, so they’re the place to land and pass through customs and immigration if making a flight to the land of hockey and maple syrup. Additionally, this airport makes for a great day-trip destination, as the International Peace Garden is just across the road. It’s certainly worth the flight to tiptoe through the tulips and enjoy a $100 hamburger.
International Peace Garden
The International Peace Garden was built along the United States/Canada border as “a memorial to the peace that has existed between the United States of America and the Dominion of Canada.” Construction started in 1932 on land donated by Manitoba and North Dakota, with some work completed by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression. Each year, the park plants more than 150,000 flowers and visitors can stroll through a sunken garden, formal garden, and nature conservatory. Other activities include hiking or biking wooded trails, or canoeing or kayaking on the lakes. Additional attractions include the Peace Chapel, the North American Game Warden’s Museum, and 9/11 Memorial. Afterward, enjoy the picnic areas and café. (The café is currently closed for the season.)
IPG Airport (S28)
The International Peace Garden Airport is located on the North Dakota/Manitoba border, 11 miles north of Dunseith, North Dakota. It’s not much—just a strip of pavement with no aviation services or fuel, only tiedown space. Bring your own tiedown straps and covers, and your passport. What it does offer is access to the International Peace Garden and customs/immigration services between Canada and the United States. Runway 11/29 is 3,005 feet by 60 feet of asphalt at an elevation of 2,315 feet msl.
COVID 19 and Customs
As of November 1, the Peace Garden is open, but the Canadian border is closed to Americans. Although no identification or procedures are needed to get into the Peace Garden from the United States or Canada, you’ll be wandering between the two countries during your visit and you’ll need proper identification upon leaving the garden to return to the United States. Preferred documents include a passport, Global Entry card or Nexus card (a driver’s license and birth certificate will work in a pinch), and for minors, their birth certificate. Check at the customs/border crossing office before going into the park to ensure there are no problems when returning. The park café is closed, so plan to bring your lunch and use the picnic areas.