SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Figures from the South Dakota Game Fish and Parks (GFP) Department show the parks didn’t need to be free to attract visitors so far this year.
So far, year to date through April 2021, the state’s 17 park and recreation districts have had about 1.2 million visitors compared to about 1.1 million in the same period of 2020. While overall visitors are up so far, the numbers for April itself are down by 3% at 494,807 in 2021 compared to 511,042 in 2020.
State parks and recreation are free to visitors, including fishing this weekend. Campers still need to pay the camping fee.
Custer State Park, which is its own district (16), drew the most visitors through April at 273,663.
Camping spots in state parks and recreation areas have drawn 10,068 in April. Year to date there have been 12,141 campers.
Campgrounds within a district may have varying results for the year so far or for April.
For example, Angostura and Sheps Canyon recreation areas in district 17 in southeastern South Dakota have drawn 1,091 campers year to date as of April, which is an increase from last year. Angostura was down by 47% but Sheps Canyon was up by 15%.