Where did the campers and visitors go in 2019?

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It was a down year for the overall South Dakota State Park system in 2019.

KELOLAND’s Capitol Reporter Bob Mercer reported on Sunday that attendance, camping and revenue was down in fiscal year 2019 to date from 2018. The downturn was presented Friday by the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department. A GFP official said rain and flooding were big reasons for the decline.

Although overall numbers were down, a few parks saw an increase or stayed even in YTD 2019.

Palisades Park near Garretson had 70 more campers last year, an increase to 4,800 from 4,730. The park also had a 1% increase in the number of visitors from 87,468 in 2018 to 88,536. It was the only park in district 6 to have an increase.

Good Earth and Union Grove were among the 18 state park or recreation areas that posted increases in attendance in 2019. Good Earth had 56,056 visitors in 2019 compared to 41,176 in 2018 for a 19% increase. Union Grove had 16,073 visitors in 2019 compared to 14,054 in 2018, an increase of 14%.

The largest increase was at Swan Creek with a 38% increase from 2018 to 2019. The area had 20,053 visitors in 2018 and 27,577 in 2019.

The park system had about 28,000 fewer campers in 2019 than in 2018. South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks said the system had 305,915 campers in 2019 and 334,095 in 2018.

Overall visitation was down by about 200,000 from 6,455,992 in 2018 to 6,279,458 in 2019.

Check the map to see how visitor numbers for your favorite state park or recreation land in YTD 2019

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