Masterplanning of Sylvan Lake at Custer State Park seeks public opinion

Local News

CUSTER STATE PARK, S.D. (KELO) — Every year, nearly two-million people visit Custer State Park. While it’s nice having that many guests, they do take a toll on the area.

For the last hundred years, Sylvan Lake has been ‘loved to death’ by its visitors here at Custer State Park.”

“Sylvan Lake is being ‘loved to death’ and in many ways it is. The trails are heavily used, there’s erosion taking places, it has such impact because it’s such a wonderful place to go,” Landscape Architech and Park Planner Patrick Wyss said.

Now the State Park and Wyss Associates are turning to visitors for help deciding what to do next.

“Taking kids hiking on rocks makes every mother anxious so having a little less maybe rocky cliffs to have kids climb on would only be a good option and having better trails to walk on is always a great amenity for a state park,” visitor Tracy Sorenson said.

Patrick Wyss, hiked nearly 28,000 steps to take pictures of Sylvan Lake’s most critical areas so the the public can comment.

“When you come in you’re going to get 3 green dots and 3 red dots and we are asking everyone to put these dots on these photos of what they like for green dots and what they don’t like for red dots,” Wyss said.

Tomorrow night, an open house will be held at the Outdoor Campus West, where the public can speak out about what they think is most important in this master planning of an area they want to continue ‘loving to death.’

“I fell in love with Custer State Park as a young adult. It’s a beautiful, peaceful, serene place, in the midst of these grand hills,” Sorenson said.

The open house event is tomorrow from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Outdoor Campus West in Rapid City. You can also take an online survey about renovations for the Sylvan Lake area at this link.

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