Congressional Delegation Furthers
Governor’s Spearfish Canyon State Park Vision
PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s plan to create a new state park at Spearfish Canyon is progressing thanks to South Dakota’s Congressional Delegation. Sen. John Thune today introduced federal legislation to authorize a land exchange between the federal government and the State of South Dakota. The bill is co-sponsored by Sen. Mike Rounds. Rep. Kristi Noem also today introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives.
“We first raised this idea with our congressional delegation in October of last year and asked for their help in creating a state park around Spearfish Canyon. I thank Sen. Thune, Sen. Rounds and Rep. Noem for their efforts at the federal level,” said Gov. Daugaard. “There are still many steps to take before this vision can become a reality, but I’m hopeful we will get there.”
The proposal initiated by the Governor was publicly announced in the 2016 State of the State Address in January
The proposed state park will contain natural features in the canyon including Roughlock Falls, Spearfish Falls, Spearfish Creek and Little Spearfish Creek. Under the Governor’s plan, the Department of Game, Fish and Parks will upgrade facilities and roads and open a new area of Spearfish Canyon to the public.
Since the proposal was announced in January, the State of South Dakota has purchased 73 acres surrounding Spearfish Falls from the Barrick Gold Corporation. Another 34 acres in Spearfish Canyon has been gifted to the state from the Spearfish Canyon Foundation.
The bills introduced by the South Dakota congressional delegation also include a land exchange for property including Bismarck Lake, which is adjacent to Custer State Park and currently owned by the federal government. If the legislation is successful, Game, Fish and Parks will integrate the parcel into Custer State Park and improve the facilities at Bismarck Lake to better serve visitors.