THE MATTHEWS returns to the Golden Era of Radio with “KMOH Variety Review: Live Radio Play”

 

SPEARFISH, SD – It’s radio you can see. The Matthews’ community theater presents  “KMOH Variety Review: A Live Radio Play,” directed by Max G. Merchen. The performance runs May 3-6. The Thursday through Saturday shows start at 7:30 p.m. and the Sunday show starts at 2 p.m. Tickets are on sale for $15 adults, $10 subscribers, and $5 for youth (18 and under) and BHSU students. Tickets are available at The Matthews’ art gallery during business hours, Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or by phone at 605-642-7973. Buy tickets online at www.matthewsopera.com.

During the Golden Days of Radio, movie stars, radio actors, musicians, and sound effects men broadcast live in front of audiences on radio stations heard throughout America. “KMOH Variety: A Live Radio Play” turns The Matthews stage into the famous radio station — KMOH.

“Although each generation has its own pressures and exigencies. We tend to look back longingly at the generations that came before us and long for the good old days,” comments Max G. Merchen, director. “There will be no digital remastering, no computer-generated images, no tweets, no gigabytes, no smartphones, or Ipads. Get ready to enjoy some cornball humor and a lot of wholesome entertainment the entire family can enjoy.”

The cast will be playing several characters from different radio skits. The KMOH cast is comprised of Sandy Nauman, Roger O’Dea, Bart Willuweit, Mikayla Wetz, Dwight Myers, Lynn Pederson, Deb Brunette, John Eisenbraun, David Nickel, Grant Binkleman, Pam Wegner, Kathy Johnston, Max G. Merchen, and Pat Yanzik.

L-R Mikayla Wetz, Roger O”Dea, Sandi Nauman


The cast takes on famous skits by Abbott and Costello, The Thin Man, Fibber McGee & Molly, and Burns & Allen. Between acts, the cast performs “on air” commercials promoting local Black Hills businesses that support The Matthews.

The radio play lineup features “Cleaning out the Closet” by Fibber McGee and Molly, “The Case of the Goofy Groom” from The Adventures of the Thin Man, “Gracie takes up Crime Solving” and “The Case of the Punctured Plumber” by Burns and Allen, and one of the most famous radio skits ever to be performed, “Who’s on First, by Abbott and Costello.

An added bonus will be live musical entertainment that changes every evening. The musicians featured are Gerry Bennett on May 3, Kaleb Carlin on May 4, Scott Simpson on May 5, and Lyle Barry on May 6.

The next event for The Matthews is the children’s theater production of “Little Mermaid, Jr.” June 22-24. Tickets on sale now. For additional information or to learn about upcoming events, visit www.MatthewsOpera.com.

 

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­The Matthews Opera House & Arts Center is a non-profit organization located at 612 N. Main Street in Spearfish, South Dakota. To learn more about The Matthews either contact by phone, at 605.642.7973 or their website at www.MatthewsOpera.com.

 

ARTCENTRAL SPEARFISH HOST CREATIVE MAKERSPACE AT THE MATTHEWS ART GALLERY

SPEARFISH, SD – The Matthews, through the work of ArtCentral Spearfish, hosts the first community creative makerspace, Feb. 3-Mar. 24, 2018, in The Matthews Art Gallery. The makerspace is named RE:Create. An opening reception for RE:Create takes place from 4-6 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 3, in the art gallery.

This space is free and open to the public. RE:Create has programmed workshops each week. These workshops give the community an opportunity to learn from and engage with local artists. Spearfish sculptor, Becky Grismer, starts it off with her “Found Object Earth Totems” workshop from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 3. As artists and workshops are confirmed, they will be posted on The Matthews’ website events calendar.

“We welcome the inquisitive, curious, skeptical, baffled, and creatively perplexed to be a part of this adventure with us,” mentions Elizabeth Freer, ArtCentral manager. “The theme of the space is making art from found objects. We’re not only making things, but we’re also bringing awareness to how much garbage is thrown out.”

Freer continues, “We are using found materials (cardboard, used plastics, used fabrics, unexpected objects, etc.) to engage with the community in creating art and having conversations about sustainability, community, and rural connectedness. Together, we will explore, examine, engage, and discover.”

Workshops

Partnering with our community’s artists and crafters, each week will have a theme and suggested projects to get the conversation going. Saturday mornings set a theme for the week and provide an opportunity for residents to learn from community artists. During the process of creative exploration, patrons get to engage in unexpected conversations with the artists and other community members.

Themes, workshops, and projects will range from bookmaking, earth totems, story writing, collage, fiber arts, found sound, experiential art, origami, theater, music, poetry, and more. No previous experience or skill is needed – only a willingness to participate. For scheduled workshops and events, sign-ups are appreciated (by calling the gallery at 605.642.7973 x0), but walk-ins are welcome. Even though workshops are free, the artists would like to provide the correct amount of materials for their events.

Cardboard Chaos

One popular event from last year at this time was Cardboard Chaos. Cardboard Chaos returns as a part of RE:Create. This space invites the creative use of old cardboard boxes, paper towel and toilet paper rolls, and other recycled paper products. This area is intended for younger audiences (in age and at heart), as well as a working space and a conversation space.

Weaving

A community loom will be set up at the front of the gallery. The public is invited to come and try weaving. Patrons may bring their own materials or use what is available in the makerspace. No experience is necessary.

Art Happy Hours

Art Happy Hours, from 4:30-6 p.m. on Tuesday afternoons will provide a time for gathering, relaxing, connecting, and either working on a project or learning a bit more from one of our community artists. Come make a cork trivet, play with sounds, or learn about the art of storytelling.

Coffee Talk and Tinker
On Thursday mornings from 9:30-11 a.m., in the art gallery, patrons are asked to bring that coffee shop conversation and your coffee friends – to RE:Create to explore creativity together. Some mornings will have suggested projects, a community artist available, or just relaxed time to come and explore.

Author Visits

Local author visits take place in the RE:Create makerspace from 12-1 p.m. every Tuesday and Friday, during the Feb. 3-Mar. 24 timeframe. Highlighting the many aspects of art in writing, during these lunch-hour discussions, the community is invited to visit with local authors, ask questions, and discuss books. Each author will make an informal presentation and discuss the topics that are of interest to the those in attendance. This is an incredible opportunity to meet the diverse range of authors in our community including those who focus on poetry, journalism, history, or fiction.

Free books with reviews

Do you love the creativity of literature? Bring in or pick up a book from the free book exchange shelf. But instead of just dropping off a load of books, we ask that you fill out the provided book covers and share with the next reader what you loved about the book you are sharing. Pass along a bit about your experience with the book and help strengthen connections in our community. Book covers are available in the art gallery and at Grace Balloch Memorial Library.

ArtCentral’s RE:Create is funded through a Community Innovation Grant from the Bush Foundation. Donated materials and volunteer time from local community members are also key to the success of this project.

The Matthews Opera House & Arts Center was selected in 2016 as a recipient of a $200,000 Bush Foundation Community Innovation grant for ArtCentral, a community collaboration to centralize the arts as an integrated asset for inclusivity, economic development, and sustained outreach in the Spearfish community. Community Innovation grants support organizations, working in collaboration with others, to use problem-solving processes that lead to more effective, equitable and sustainable solutions for challenges that face their communities.

The next event at The Matthews is the ArtCentral Film Festival film, “If You Build It,” 2 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 21 in The Matthew’s theater. This a free event. For additional information or to learn about upcoming events, visit http://www.matthewsopera.com/events/

THE MATTHEWS Presents Portland Cello Project, January 19, 2018

“It doesn’t get much more genre-crossing than this,” – MTV.com

December 28, 2017

(SPEARFISH, SD  The Matthews Opera House & Arts Center hosts traveling cellist group, Portland Cello Project, at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 19. This is the fourth event of the 2017-18 Subscription Series season. Single tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for youth (18 and under) and BHSU students. They are available at The Matthews’ art gallery during business hours, Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or by phone at 605-642-7973. Buy tickets online anytime at www.matthewsopera.com.

“This performance will feature cellos as you have never heard them before. Be prepared for an evening that will challenge your perceptions of the sounds and music that these stringed instruments can produce under the bows of talented musicians,” comments Sian Young, executive director of The Matthews. “You will find no other evening out like this in our area,” she continues.

The Portland Cello Project, or PCP as their fans affectionately call them, delivers a new show each performance, with a repertoire now numbering over 1,000 pieces you wouldn’t normally hear coming from a cello. PCP’s stage setup ranges from the very simple (4-6 cellos) to the all-out epic (which has included 12 cellos playing with full choirs, winds, horns, and numerous percussion players).

PCP has wowed audiences all over the country with extravagant performances — from punk rock clubs to loading dock street parties, exclusive private events, and symphony halls all over North America. The group has built a reputation mixing genres and blurring musical lines and perceptions wherever they go.

In the fall of 2006, a group of 10 cellists got on stage at Portland’s Doug Fir Lounge to perform western classical music in an informal setting.

Many of the cellists that night thought it would only happen once.

But slowly that one-off event led to more gigs playing Portland’s most popular clubs and by 2009 the group had evolved into a nationally recognized performance and educational group with a revolving cast of cellists, releasing full-length albums, performing everywhere from punk rock clubs, loading dock street parties, and symphony halls all over North America. They spend more than a quarter of the year touring featuring a diverse repertoire of well over 1,000 pieces of music.

This presentation is supported by the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program of Arts Midwest that is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from the South Dakota Arts Council and the Crane Group.

The next event at The Matthews is the continuation of the 39th Winter Art Show, from January 17-25, 2018. For additional information or to learn about upcoming events, visit www.matthewsopera.com.

Dakota Wind Quintet to Perform Lakota Student Compositions at The Matthews Opera House

 

SPEARFISH, SD – A new music collaboration is taking place between the Lakota Music Project and the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra (SDSO). The Dakota Wind Quintet of the SDSO will perform the resulting student classic compositions at 2 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 10, at The Matthews Opera House in Spearfish, SD. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for season subscribers, and $5 for youth and BHSU students. Tickets are available at The Matthews’ art gallery at 612 N. Main St. during business hours, Monday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or by phone at 605-642-7973. Buy tickets online anytime at www.matthewsopera.com.

The Lakota Music Project is a long-term collaborative program in partnership between the SDSO and the Native American Community. It seeks to build tangible bridges between White and Native communities by finding points of common interest and experience. At every turn, the Lakota Music Project strives to bring White and Native communities together through their shared experience in music.
SDSO’s Music Composition Academy, part of the Lakota Music Project, have Lakota high school students from Pine Ridge and Rapid City who have the desire to learn about music and music composition. The Music Composition Academies engage students in creative expression through music with daily composition lessons and activities emphasizing cultural understanding and finding human commonalities. They will work one-on-one with Chickasaw Composer-in-Residence, Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate, Aug. 13-19 at Crazy Horse Memorial.
The end result of the academy is a concert by the Dakota Wind Quintet performing pieces composed by the students at The Matthews Opera House & Arts Center’s theater in Spearfish on Sunday, Sept. 10.
“Spearfish audiences are in for a treat when they experience this program in the intimate confines of the 1906 Matthews Opera House,” said Michael Holland, the SDSO’s Community Engagement Manager. “Presented up close and personal, the works will engage audience members as they feel a connection to both the music and the musicians through the compositions of these talented composers.”
“We are pleased to be a partner in presenting these Lakota composers’ music to our community,” remarks Sian Young, executive director of The Matthews. “This is a unique and inspirational musical event which features the story of each composer’s creative journey. It is not often we get to experience the start of a composer’s musical career. This performance gives us that chance to encourage our youth in making the arts a part of their lives.”
The Dakota Wind Quintet has been providing live performances and lecture demonstrations throughout the state of South Dakota and the Midwest since 1982. The wind quintet works closely with the surrounding community by providing music to create a positive impact on patient healing in the Music as Medicine Program and visiting various schools presenting age appropriate programs to students. The Dakota Wind Quintet consists of five talented musicians who also serve as principal woodwind players of the SDSO. Members of the quintet are William Cedeño Torres (flute), Jeffrey Paul (oboe), John Tomkins (bassoon), Christopher Hill (clarinet), and Daniel Kitchens (horn).
The South Dakota Symphony Orchestra is based in Sioux Falls, SD, a vibrant and growing community serving a 125-mile region that touches 5 states. Known for innovative programming and statewide outreach, the SDSO has a strong heritage upon which to build an even stronger future. SDSO was the 2016 winner of the Bush Prize for Community Innovation. The Bush Prize recognizes organizations for their innovative work in community engagement. In addition, the SDSO was selected as 1 of 5 orchestras in the country to participate in a three-year composer residency through New Music USA which brings American Indian composer, Jerod Tate, to the SDSO through 2019. The SDSO is the region’s premier performing arts organization with the Washington Pavilion as its home. Artistically, the SDSO is led by Maestro Delta David Gier who has guided the orchestra to new musical heights.
The next event at The Matthews is the Hank Harris & Matt Berry concert, 7:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 22. This is the kick-off event of the 2017-18 Subscription Series season. Single tickets go on sale Sept. 1. For additional information or to learn about upcoming events, visit www.matthewsopera.com

Black Hills State University Announces Date For “Scrubs Camp”

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High school students are invited to participate in Scrubs Camp, a free health care skills fair for high school students Saturday, Feb. 18 at Black Hills State University in Spearfish. Register for Scrubs Camp at BHSU by Feb. 16 at http://www.scrubscamps.sd.gov. Photo: BHSU

 February 10, 2017

SPEARFISH, SD – Black Hills State University announces its date for Scrubs Camp and invites all local high school students to attend this event Saturday, Feb. 18 from 8 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. in Jonas Hall, room 305 on the BHSU campus in Spearfish.

The event, which is free to attend, provides high school students with the opportunity to experience a wide variety of health careers through hands-on activities and discussions. Breakfast, lunch and snacks will be provided.

Register for Scrubs Camp at BHSU by Feb. 16 at www.scrubscamps.sd.gov.

Janet Crawford, Scrubs Camp coordinator at BHSU, said this is the ninth year that the University has provided this camp for students.

“This year we have presenters speaking about emergency room (ER) / intensive care unit nursing, biotechnology research and development, pharmacy, respiratory care therapy, psychology, physical therapy, dental hygiene, plastic surgery, anesthesia, EMS and career guidance/field experience,” says Crawford.

The goal of Scrubs Camp is to provide an opportunity for students to explore a variety of healthcare careers. The hope is that by exposing high school students to many different areas of healthcare they will ultimately pursue a healthcare career.

For more information contact Janet.Crawford@BHSU.edu or 605-642-6262

“Cardboard Chaos” an Interactive Creative Makerspace to open in Spearfish

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Photo: The Matthews Opera House & Arts Center

SPEARFISH, SD – The Matthews Opera House & Arts Center, through the work of ArtCentral, will host Cardboard Chaos, an interactive creative makerspace for all ages, in the Matthews’ Art Gallery.

Cardboard Chaos will have an opening event at 3-5 p.m., Friday, Feb. 3, in the art gallery. Normal hours will be Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. from February 4-25. The event is free and open to everyone.

Cardboard Chaos is an interactive creative makerspace where children and adults can delve into their imaginations to construct artwork, invent toys, and build play areas out of cardboard. Cardboard, tools, and an assortment of other materials to unleash creativity will be provided. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

The Matthews Opera House & Arts Center was selected in 2016 as a recipient of a $200,000 Bush Foundation Community Innovation grant for ArtCentral, a community collaboration to centralize the arts as an integrated asset for inclusivity, economic development, and sustained outreach in the Spearfish community. Community Innovation grants support organizations, working in collaboration with others, to use problem-solving processes that lead to more effective, equitable and sustainable solutions for challenges that face their communities.

“I am so excited for this project,” said Kate Kelley, Cardboard Chaos committee chair. “This will be a fun place for people to come and use their imaginations by creating whatever they want using cardboard and simple craft tools. It is the first project to come out of ArtCentral, which is funded by a Community Innovation Grant from the Bush Foundation. If Cardboard Chaos is well-received, then we hope to offer this event in other locations for our community to enjoy during winter months.”

“The ArtCentral Committee has been working hard over the last several months. It is great to see our discussions transition into actions,” said Elizabeth Freer, ArtCentral Manager. “This project is just the beginning of our work and I am looking forward to seeing the positive impact of the arts on our community.” Cardboard Chaos is funded through a Community Innovation Grant from the Bush Foundation. Donated materials and volunteer time from local community members are also key to the success of this project.

About the Bush Foundation
The Bush Foundation invests in great ideas and the people who power them. We encourage individuals and organizations to think bigger and think differently about what is possible in communities across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geographic area. Since it was established in 1953 by 3M executive Archibald Bush and his wife, Edyth, the Foundation has invested nearly one billion dollars in grants to thousands of organizations and individuals. Website: http://www.bushfoundation.org.

The next event for The Matthews is the comedy-drama play, “Steel Magnolias,” Feb. 16-19. For additional information or to learn about upcoming events, visit http://www.MatthewsOpera.com.

THE MATTHEWS Brings Comedy-Drama “Steel Magnolias” To The Stage

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Cast L-R: Mikayla Lemaster, Pat Rogge, Sydney Bridgeport, Alexandra Schoenberner, Amy Ruff, Deb Brunette. Photo: supplied by The Matthews

January 23, 2017

SPEARFISH, SD – Warm your insides with laughter and tears this cold February in Spearfish. The ensemble cast of talented Black Hills’ actors takes The Matthews’ stage, Feb. 16-19. The play is directed by Joanna Mechaley. The Thursday-Saturday shows are at 7:30 p.m. and the Sunday show is at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are now on sale for $15 adults, $10 subscribers, and $5 youth (18 and under) and BHSU students. Tickets are available at The Matthews’ art gallery during business hours, Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or by phone at 605-642-7973. Buy tickets online anytime at www.matthewsopera.com.

The cast is comprised of Amy Ruff as Truvy, Mikayla Lemaster as Annelle, Sydney Bridgeport as Clairee, Alexandria Schoenberner as Shelby, Deb Brunette as M’Lynn, and Pat Rogge as Ouiser.

The play opens with a discussion of Shelby’s wedding day to her fiancé, Jackson, in the fictional northwestern Louisiana parish of Chinquapin at Truvy’s in-home beauty parlor where the women regularly gather.

It covers events over the next three years with Shelby’s Type 1 diabetes and how the women interact at times with conflict, but in the end resolved as friends. Although the main storyline involves Shelby, her mother M’Lynn, and Shelby’s medical battles, the underlying group-friendship among all six women is prominent throughout the drama.

Director, Joanna Mechaley remarks, “’This is a show that is both heartbreaking and side-achingly funny. “Steel Magnolias” has become an iconic portrait of women and the bonds they form with each other.”

“It has been such a privilege to work with this cast of women. Each of them has woven a bit of themselves with a dash of the only-imagined to create, beyond expectation, a cast of characters that is endearing and amusing and all-together familiar,” continues Mechaley.

The next event for The Matthews is the inaugural concert of the Club Matthews Jazz Sessions series, by JAS Quintet at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Mar. 2. For additional information or to learn about upcoming events, visit www.MatthewsOpera.com.

“Steel Magnolias” is a 1987 stage play by American writer, Robert Harling, based on his experience with his sister’s death in 1985. The play is a comedy–drama about the bond amongst a group of Southern women in northwest Louisiana. The title suggests the “female characters are as delicate as magnolias, but as tough as steel.” The magnolia specifically references a magnolia tree they are arguing about at the beginning.

BHSU Students Present Tourism Development Plan to The City of Keystone, South Dakota

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Michael Cook, business administration-tourism and hospitality management major from Gillette, Wyo., and other students from Black Hills State University worked with the city of Keystone, S.D. recently to increase awareness of Keystone as a primary tourism destination in the Black Hills and to increase the length of tourists’ stays. Photo: BHSU

By Kimberly Talcott
January 19, 2017

SPEARFISHStudents from Black Hills State University worked with the city of Keystone Chamber of Commerce recently to increase awareness of Keystone, SD as a primary tourism destination in the Black Hills and to increase the length of tourists’ stays.

Over the course of a semester, students in Dr. Ignatius Cahyanto’s Tourism Planning and Development course completed a comprehensive tourism development plan for the town that Mt. Rushmore calls home.

Kirk Hulstein, industry outreach and development director for the South Dakota Department of Tourism, attended the students’ presentation. He said, as a result of the students’ work, Keystone community members walk away with actionable steps they can implement to maximize their potential and position themselves as a tourism destination.

“This type of in-depth research is invaluable as the students take a deep dive approach into the community’s unique opportunities and challenges and provide honest feedback about how visitors perceive their community,” said Hulstein.

The students conducted visitor and resident surveys, interviewed key informants, and tracked online activity throughout the semester. Students also completed a marketing analysis and a plan of action to implement their recommendations.

Jesse Gramm, business administration-tourism and hospitality management major from Burlington, Colo., said this project was especially meaningful because tourism is so important to the state of South Dakota.

“This project better prepared me for my future job by providing me an opportunity to get hands-on experience outside the classroom by working with a real community and preparing a detailed proposal,” said Gramm.

The students also competed an environmental analysis looking at industry, economic and technology trends with impact on Keystone.

Several strengths for Keystone that emerged from the analysis included the lodging accommodations, food and beverage options, and outdoor landscape, along with proximity to Mount Rushmore. A key challenge the students noted was that Keystone is known to tourists as only a daytrip, not an overnight destination. Survey results also noted limits on parking space.

“We suggested the use of parking meters to fund and perhaps expand parking options in the future,” said Gramm.

The BHSU students provided suggestions for Keystone including increasing winter sports, adding additional outdoor recreation areas, marketing Keystone as “the Black Hills Hub,” and incorporating bus tours. Key recommendations by the students included outdoor map design, Snapchat Geofilters, and landmarks or outdoor frames for photo opportunities.

Cameron Fullerton, operations manager for Rushmore Tramway Adventures, attended the students’ final presentation. He said the customer survey portion of the students’ work was the most impactful.

“This information has helped Rushmore Tramway Adventures rethink the placement of our promotions.  We have been utilizing many platforms but the direction has lacked purpose and this project helped redirect our efforts,” said Fullerton. “It has been very valuable working with these students since they carry fresh perspectives.  Without fresh perspectives, it is easy to continue plans that may be outdated and ineffective.”

BHSU students who worked on the project included:

Heidi Huether, business administration-tourism and hospitality management major from Wall
Jessie Gramm, business administration-tourism and hospitality management major from Burlington, Colo.
Kie Tatsukawa, business administration-tourism and hospitality management major from Japan
Michael Cook, business administration-tourism and hospitality management major from Gillette, Wyo.
Logan Miller, business administration-tourism and hospitality management major from Chester
Max Bergstrom, business administration-tourism and hospitality management major from Sturgis

The BHSU School of Business Tourism and Hospitality Management Program will conduct a similar community-based project in fall 2017 and is currently looking for a partner community. Communities interested in partnering with BHSU to develop a strategic plan to foster tourism in their community should contact Dr. Ignatius Cahyanto, assistant professor and program coordinator, at Ignatius.Cahyanto@BHSU.edu or 605-642-6876.

Proposed Spearfish Canyon State Park Master Planning Contract Awarded

 

January 5, 2016

PIERRE, S.D. – Today, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) announced that Peaks to Plains Design, PC will be the consultant in the master planning efforts for the proposed Spearfish Canyon State Park and Bismarck Lake areas in the Black Hills.

“We are excited to partner with Peaks to Plains for this project,” stated Katie Ceroll, director for the Division of Parks and Recreation. “They have the proven experience to lead the public input process that will lead us into the next phase of this project for the State of South Dakota. Combined with the inventory and analysis of both areas, the information we gather from the public will help shape the future of the Spearfish Canyon and Bismarck Lake areas for all generations to enjoy.”

With the consultant under contract, GFP will continue to proceed with public engagement and outreach opportunities as part of the project.  A series of presentations have been conducted to city councils, county commissions and other organizations throughout the Black Hills. In addition, GFP will accept applications from local residents and organizational representatives interested in serving on a Volunteer Advisory Committee to work alongside the consultant and GFP staff. Focus group meetings will also be held.

The first public input session will be Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017, at 5:30 p.m. MDT in Spearfish at the Spearfish Park Pavilion, located at 115 S. Canyon Street. During this meeting, the consultant and GFP staff will present information on the project, discuss the inventory and analysis information and gather input from the public on their thoughts and priorities for Spearfish Canyon. Those who cannot attend can view meeting information online at the newly launched spearfishcanyon.sd.gov and offer input through the online comment form. Times and dates for additional public input sessions are yet to be determined.

Last January, Gov. Daugaard announced a plan to provide for the establishment of a new state park in Spearfish Canyon. Recognizing the area’s significance to South Dakota’s heritage, the Governor initiated the proposal to preserve Spearfish Canyon and enhance the visitor experience with improved roads and camping, hiking, fishing and sightseeing opportunities.

“Spearfish Canyon contains some of the most renowned natural, scenic and cultural resources in the country,” said Ceroll. “We want to ensure that the Governor’s vision for the creation of Spearfish Canyon State Park is met with public input, transparency and openness.”

About Peaks to Plains: This Montana-based firm specializes in community-involved design for public sector projects and site-specific engineering with services that include feasibility studies, land planning, design, engineering and construction administration for public entities and private clients throughout Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. Visit http://www.peakstoplains.com/ to learn more.

BISMARK LAKE AND PROPOSED SPEARFISH CANYON STATE PARK MEETING TONIGHT IN CUSTER, SD

By Mary Boots

CUSTER, SD – Tonight,  January 5, 2017 at 6:30 pm in the Pine Room at The Custer County Annex there there will be an information meeting about the Governor Daugaard’s plan to exchange  federal lands and state lands for the purpose of creating a new state park.  the meeting is sponsored by concerned citizens.  The idea is to make a state park in Spearfish Canyon and also to change Bismark Lake area to Custer State Park.  Please come to the meeting to learn about this proposal and how it will affect us, the public. Whether you agree with this plan or not, it is important to get the facts about what this may mean for future access to these areas.
The US House of Representatives this week passed House Resolution 5 that contained a section (q)  which states that any conveyance of Federal land to a State shall not be considered as providing new budget authority, decreasing revenues, increasing mandatory spending, or increasing outlays……which makes it budget neutral to do an exchange no matter what land is being considered.
Below is the article from the Custer Free Press published October 14, 2016

Governor Dennis Daugaard announced in January of 2016 a plan to provide for the establishment of a new State Park in Spearfish Canyon.  Governor Daugaard recognized the area’s significance to South Dakota’s heritage and saw the need and opportunity for future generations to have a memorable and quality experience in this part of the state.  Therefore, his plan called for the transfer of 1,468 acres of Black Hills National Forest through a land trade.  This proposed 1,600-acre state park would include property in the Little Spearfish Canyon area; the areas of the Savoy Fishing Pond, Spearfish Falls, Roughlock Falls, and up Little Spearfish Canyon to the Little Spearfish Trailhead.

A master planning effort has been initiated that will take a more in-depth look at the Governor’s proposal by providing opportunity for public comment and participation in this effort. Through this master planning process, the state will assess the operational impacts and needs of the proposed state park as the Department of Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) continues to provide recreational services and facilities through efficient management, user fees, and partnerships. The partnership and collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service is also a priority in this effort.

The master plan will address the state’s desire to provide effective and responsive management of the area, preservation needs, and recreational opportunities such as additional hiking trails and camping.  Utilities and infrastructure such as improving the road to Roughlock Falls will be analyzed. Natural resource management, scenic, historical and cultural preservation will also be considered.

On  Thursday morning October 13, 2016 a group of state officials and media outlet representatives met at Bismark Lake/Bob Marshall campground in Custer State Park for the start of a four and one half hour information tour, that ended at the proposed Spearfish Canyon State Park. The areas included in The proposed 1,600-acre state park includes property in the Little Spearfish Canyon area. It would include the Savoy fishing pond, Spearfish Falls, Roughlock Falls and up Little Spearfish Canyon to the Little Spearfish trailhead. It does not include the bulk of Spearfish Canyon which includes the property north of Savoy to Spearfish.

Gov. Daugaard addressed the Bismark Lake/Camp Bob Marshall  524 acre plus the adjacent 42 acre lagoon area land swap. “The only access to this federal property is gained on highway 16A in Custer State Park. The facilities are inadequate at the site so, campers and visitors are using the facilities at Stockade Lake North Campground causing hardships for everyone. The plan is to add bathrooms, showers and sinks at Camp Bob Marshall and Bismark lake improving visitor satisfaction. The 42 acre plot will allow GFP to address the wastewater issue”.

Matt Snyder, Black Hills Regional Supervisor SDGFP commented on the exciting developments in the Spearfish Canyon State Park planning process but also cautioned ” There are rumors flying around that once everything is approved Custer State Park will demolish Camp Bob Marshall and construct another game lodge or maybe even turn Bismark Lake into another Legion Lake with a restaurant, not true. Camp Bob Marshall is primarily a youth camp that has historic civilian conservation corps buildings and we will do everything to maintain their integrity. Bismark Lake would see improvements in the vault toilets”.

The land swap trade to US Forest Service (USFS) includes 640 acres in the Ft Pierre National Grasslands ( Sec 16 T107N R78W). 34 acres in the Black Hills National Forest, 640 acres in the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands (Sec 16 Too5N R02E) and another 640 acres in the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands (Section 16 T004S R12E).

What is the footprint of the proposed Spearfish Canyon State Park?

This proposed 1,600-acre state park includes property in the Little Spearfish Canyon area. It would include the Savoy fishing pond, Spearfish Falls, Roughlock Falls and up Little Spearfish Canyon to the Little Spearfish trailhead. It does not include the bulk of Spearfish Canyon which includes the property north of Savoy to Spearfish. It will include much of the “rim to rim” of Little Spearfish Canyon.

How do South Dakota citizens benefit from a state park in Little Spearfish Canyon?

Visitation continues to increase in Little Spearfish Canyon. Visitors are seeking more than a scenic drive – they want to get out of their cars and have a meaningful experience. This plan will create a new state park that has more recreational opportunities and better facilities.

The South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) has a proven track record of managing natural resources to both preserve their integrity while providing maximum access for those who wish to experience these treasures. With the state acquisition of Roughlock Falls in 2006 and Spearfish Falls in 2016, GFP was able to make immediate improvements to solidify uninterrupted access to these sites while reversing environmental degradation.

With the new Spearfish Canyon State Park, we can build upon those successes and preserve them as part of our heritage, and also be responsible stewards to allow for public enjoyment.

Is the State is going to charge to drive down U.S. Highway 14A in Spearfish Canyon?

No, there will not be a fee to drive down U.S. Highway 14A in Spearfish Canyon. In 1989, the drive along U.S. Highway 14A was designated as a scenic byway by the U.S. Forest Service and a state scenic byway by the State of South Dakota.

What is the process for State Park designation?

Once the land trade is finalized, a bill will be brought before the South Dakota State Legislature to create and designate the area as a state park.

What is the master planning process and what will it achieve? The master planning process will:

  • Provide the public and area stakeholders an opportunity to comment on concepts and make recommendations to assist in establishing a plan.
  • Establish a clear vision for Spearfish Canyon State Park and Bismarck Lake, based on a detailed inventory of the areas and consideration of existing and potential opportunities. The final master plan will provide guidance on natural resource management, cultural and historical resource protection, scenic preservation, interpretation and appropriate development standards.
  • Explore all funding opportunities that can be generated through services inside and outside the park areas, and provide options for short- and long-term operations of the areas according to the goals identified in the master plan.Provide an outline and schedule for all required state and federal actions. The plan will consider all administrative, legislative, and fiscal requirements to achieve the identified recommendations and provide the state with strategies and action items to secure all permissions and authority necessary for the implementation of the plan.

When will the master planning process begin?

The master planning process is in its early stages and will likely continue into summer 2017. A consultant has been selected and scheduling for the public input process is underway. The public input sessions will begin in mid-October 2016. The process is beginning now so that GFP can be ready to move forward with effectively managing the Little Spearfish Canyon and Bismarck Lake areas once the land trade is complete.

Is the State of South Dakota going to develop Bismarck Lake?

No, the state is not going to develop Bismarck Lake. GFP may seek to improve the campground by adding a modern comfort station (flush toilets, sinks, and showers).

What is the state going to do with Camp Bob Marshall on Bismarck Lake?

The state wants to keep it the same as it is today. Visitors appreciate the rustic beauty of Camp Bob Marshall and many groups that use the camp appreciate it for what it currently offers – in its current form. GFP does plan to fix the sewer lagoon, a necessary upgrade to protect and improve the environment and provide for human safety.

Would visitors pay to access an area that is already free to the public?

If so, how much? Bismarck Lake visitors currently pay an access fee. Guests staying at Bismarck Lake pay $26 dollars per night for a non-electric campsite without a comfort station (flush toilets, sinks and showers). Similar sites at Custer State Park are $19 per night. Day users at Bismarck Lake pay a daily fee of $4 or an annual fee of $20. The South Dakota State Park annual pass ($30) is good across the state, at all state parks and recreation areas.

In Little Spearfish Canyon visitors pay a $12 per night camping fee; it’s likely that GFP would charge a similar rate. Any other potential fees would be considered as part of the master 3 planning process. As with all state park fees, this public process would require the approval of the citizens on the state Game, Fish, and Parks Commission.

Would the proposed land exchange circumvent the National Environment Policy Act (NEPA)?

No. NEPA applies to the proposed land exchange.

Do Native American tribes have an opportunity to comment on the proposed land exchange?

Yes, through the master planning process there will be various meetings, a venue for written comments, and public input sessions. Additionally, tribal members will have an opportunity to participate in the NEPA process.

Did the state consult the Forest Service on the proposed land exchange?

Yes, over the last eleven months the State of South Dakota has had numerous conversations with U.S. Forest Service officials about the proposed Little Spearfish Canyon and Bismarck Lake land exchange.

Those discussions started on November 1, 2015, when South Dakota GFP Parks Director Doug Hofer spent several hours explaining and discussing the proposed exchange with then-Black Hills National Forest Supervisor Craig Bobzien. A few months later, GFP Secretary Kelly Hepler and Director Hofer also presented the plan in another meeting to Supervisor Bobzien and USFS National Grasslands Supervisor Kevin Atchley. This past March, Secretary Hepler discussed the land exchange with U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell and followed up with a letter. There are other examples of the state reaching out to the Forest Service for comment. Throughout the meetings, USFS staff have repeatedly said that it is Forest Service policy to withhold comment on legislation until it is officially introduced.

A detailed timeline can be found at this web link: http://gfp.sd.gov/news/news/september/SpearfishCanyonLandExchangeTimeline.pdf.

Since the Forest Service has a land-transfer process, why is legislation needed?

There are many different ways that a land transfer can take place. The Forest Service’s preferred approach can take 10 years or more. It is highly bureaucratic and slow. The legislative land trade process is timely, results driven, and engages the public. It is not uncommon for the federal government to approve land transfers in this way.

How will the lands the state is proposing to trade benefit the federal government?

Large contiguous tracts of land are more valuable because they are more efficient to manage. The proposed trade will create larger contiguous tracts of land for the Forest Service and the State of South Dakota. The three state School and Public Land (SPL) parcels and the GFP-owned Spearfish Canyon parcel are completely or nearly surrounded by USFS National Grasslands. This land exchange will create more efficient land management for the federal government.

Shouldn’t the land exchanged between the Forest Service and the State be of equal value?

Yes, the land must be of equal value and the bill requires the parcels to be appraised at their agricultural value. The legislation limits the land acquired by the state to be “managed by the state for public recreation uses and the conservation of natural resources” in perpetuity. That limitation of land use ensures that the new state land will be protected and open to the public, but it also substantially lowers the value of that land. When the land exchange is completed the state will never be able to develop the proposed Spearfish Canyon State Park and Bismarck Lake parcels into commercial developments, such as shopping centers or vacation homes. The state wants to preserve and protect these properties.

“Agricultural value” makes sense for these appraisals, because it is the best representation of how this land will be used. It does not make sense to consider the “highest and best use” value, which would include use of the land for commercial development, when this type of development is prohibited by the legislation.

Would the School and Public Lands lose money with this land exchange?

No, the Office of School and Public Lands (SPL) will benefit from the exchange, leading to additional funding for K-12 education. The lease rate of all three parcels totals $5,676.80 per year. According to SDSU Extension’s “South Dakota Agricultural Land Market Trends” annual report, at average rangeland value the parcels should be worth approximately $2 million total. To initiate the purchase, GFP will purchase the land at the appraised value from SPL, after which it will be traded to the Forest Service. SPL will deposit the $2 million in the land sale proceeds into the SPL K-12 School Trust Fund. A conservative estimate for an annual return on those funds would be $60,000 a year – ten times the current lease rate.