PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department plans to ask the Legislature for $18 million for building two big projects out west and fixing two dams damaged by floods.
Secretary Kevin Robling laid out the proposals Tuesday to the state Game, Fish and Parks Commission. They have Governor Kristi Noem’s backing.
The largest request of $9.8 million is to build a 176-site campground at Custer State Park north of the airport. Robling said the expansion would add 30% more sites in the park, the first in more than 40 years.
“Demand is very, very high in Custer State Park for camping,” he said.
Campers can reserve sites in the park 12 months in advance, while the rest of South Dakota’s state campgrounds operate on 90-day reservations.
Robling said state lawmakers will also be asked for $2.5 million for the department’s new shooting range that’s planned in Meade County about 10 miles north of Rapid City.
He said the timeline calls for the commission to take action in March to purchase about 400 acres for the range.
The project’s total cost will run $10 million to $12 million. Robling said the department will provide $2.5 million, with the balance of $5 million to $7 million to be raised from private donors. He said about $2.5 million in contributions have already been pledged.
The third proposal requests $5.6 million for repairing the dam at Lake Alvin state recreation area in Lincoln County and repairing the dam at Newell Lake in Butte County.
A fourth piece of department legislation proposes repealing some laws regarding Black Hills Playhouse in Custer State Park. Robling said those changes have support from the playhouse board.
Robling said decisions haven’t been made on which legislative committees will be asked to introduce each of the four bills.
The 2022 session opens Tuesday, January 11, at noon CT and wraps up in late March.
“It is quite a lengthy process,” he said.
“Good luck,” said Russ Olson of Wentworth, the commission’s chairman and a former legislator.