The Multitudes Gather To Oppose Bismark Lake And Spearfish Canyon Land Swap – An Opinion

January 6, 2017
By Herb Ryan

A group of concerned citizens who described themselves as: Lynn Kolund, retired forest service district ranger, Jim Allen, backcountry horseman, Alice Allen, South Dakota taxpayer, Rick Hudson, interested hunter, Steve Pischke, concerned local citizen and David Miller, local historian presented a program consisting of a 20 minute slide show with comments, followed by a brief question and answer session on the wrongs of the Bismark Lake and Spearfish Canyon Land Swap at the Pine Room in the Custer County Annex building in Custer, SD, Thursday evening January 5, 2017

The details and effort made on the presentation was commendable, Jim and Alice Allen and the others are private citizens, who apparently were fed up with the way government bureaucracy, specifically the Governor’s Office was once again using its authority and media muscle to force yet another “Grand Scheme” on the backs of taxpayers.

People started drifting in around 6:00 pm and by 6:30 there was an overflow crowd. Speaking with Alice Allen earlier in the evening, she mentioned, this was the first time she had ever organized anything like this, ” I really didn’t know if anyone would show up” she said. And I agreed, there were two high school basketball games at the Armory, and the 2nd Annual Custer School District Hall of Fame Ceremony. Plus, the meeting was advertised with no mention of food or drinks, and finally, the weather was somewhat chilly.

The night was a prime example of a group of people, determined to find a solution that represented the will of the people, not the will of the government. At the end of the presentation Alice Allen asked, “would it be appropriate to call for show of hands from people who oppose this land swap” The answer, every hand in the room shooting into the air. When asked for a show of hands from those who approved of the swap, maybe one hand went up, maybe.

I thank the group for being proactive and not sitting around a coffee table complaining about everything, and doing nothing about it.


A capacity crowd attended the Bismark Lake and Proposed Spearfish Canyon State Park Meeting at the Pine Room in the Custer County Annex building in Custer, Thursday evening January 5, 2017. Photo: Herb Ryan/ Custer Free Press.

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