Planning Efforts for Little Spearfish Canyon and Bismarck Lake Areas Put on Back Burner

Photo: SDGF&P

South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks

April 11, 2017

To date, the planning effort the for the Little Spearfish Canyon and Bismarck Lake areas has included gathering public feedback through the website, written comments, the Little Spearfish Canyon public meeting, Focus Group meetings and two Volunteer Advisory Committee meetings.  A stakeholder meeting was also held with Bismarck Lake permittees.  A range of inventory and analysis has also been completed in Little Spearfish Canyon, with minimal inventory work started at Bismarck Lake.

After careful consideration, Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) has decided to pause the planning efforts for the Little Spearfish Canyon and Bismarck Lake areas not currently owned or managed by GFP. GFP’s goal continues to be the preservation of the areas in Little Spearfish Canyon and the area surrounding Bismarck Lake.  Taking a pause, at this time, will give GFP, stakeholders, partners and the general public the opportunity to take a step back and re-evaluate these areas and their future.

GFP staff will continue their ongoing planning and preservation efforts for the areas they currently own and manage, including Roughlock Falls, Spearfish Falls and the Savoy Fishing Pond. More specifically, enhancements will continue this spring to the Spearfish Falls Trailhead, with an anticipated fall trail dedication. Fish and Wildlife Division staff will also continue their ongoing research projects and management efforts in the region, including several ongoing projects related to the brown trout in Spearfish Creek and the funding of a two-year project to survey and monitor the state-threatened American Dipper.

Peaks to Plains Design, the stewardship planning consultant, will close out the inventory and analysis phase of the project for the Spearfish and Little Spearfish Canyon portions of the project. They will also tabulate the information gathered from the public through project website comments, the Spearfish Canyon public meeting and the Focus Group sessions. This information will be included in the inventory and analysis report and will be valuable for both GFP and our partners in guiding the future for these areas. The scope of the stewardship planning contract will be modified and when Peaks to Plains has completed the items in the modified scope, their contract with GFP will be closed.

No additional public meetings, for either the Little Spearfish Canyon or Bismarck Lake portions of the project, have been scheduled and will be postponed indefinitely.

Please direct any questions or comments to 605.773.3391 or

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