Custer State Park to host First Day Hike

Custer State Park will host a First Day Hike on Jan. 1. The hike will begin at 10 a.m. at the Peter Norbeck Outdoor Education Center.

Participants will go on a guided hike along the paved Creekside Trail for approximately two miles. The hike will last approximately two hours. Pre-registration is not required.

As part of a national initiative, these hikes take place across the nation to offer individuals and families an opportunity to begin the New Year rejuvenated and connecting with the outdoors by taking a healthy hike on January 1 at a state park close to home. First Day Hikes offer a way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome the New Year with family and friends.

Jan. 1 is also the last day to view and vote for “Favorite Tree” for the Custer State Park Festival of Trees located at the Visitor Center. The visitor center hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. every day.

There is no cost for the hike. However, a park entrance license is required. Participants should dress appropriately for the weather, as temperatures in the Black Hills can be unpredictable.

Custer State Park will also host snowshoe hikes this winter. The Game Lodge Snowshoe Hike will take place at 10 a.m. on Jan. 13, the Lover’s Leap Snowshoe Hike will take place at 10 a.m.-noon on Feb. 10, and the Sylvan Lake Snowshoe Hike will take place at 10 a.m. on March 10. Reservations for these hikes are required and can be made by calling 605-255-4515.

State Park fee changes go into effect Jan. 1

Changes to state park campground classifications, as well as some entrance and facility fees will go into effect Jan. 1.

State Park director Katie Ceroll said the changes reflect the increased demand for and use of the state’s campgrounds and facilities.

The department reviewed campground occupancy rates, which are used to determine the classification of the campgrounds and the per night fees charged. Camping fees for each of the classifications will not change, but fees at several parks will see a modest increase as they are moved into the correct category.

The following campground classifications include:

• Basic campgrounds: Campgrounds without modern facilities. $11 nightly per non-electric site; $15 nightly per electric site. Includes 5 campgrounds.

• Modern campgrounds: Less than 80 percent weekend occupancy during the summer; feature restrooms and showers. $13 nightly per non-electric site; $17 nightly per electric site. Includes 7 campgrounds.

• Preferred campgrounds: 80-89 percent weekend occupancy during the summer; feature restrooms and showers. $15 nightly per non-electric site; $19 nightly per electric site. Includes 6 campgrounds.

• Prime campgrounds: 90 percent or higher weekend occupancy during the summer; feature restrooms and showers. $17 nightly per non-electric site; $21 nightly per electric site. Includes 31 campgrounds.

Other fee changes include:

• Elimination of the per person daily entrance license. The $6 per vehicle daily entrance license remains unchanged.

• Camping cabin fee increase to $45 in all parks except Custer, which will remain $50 per night.

• Campsites in French Creek Horse Camp in Custer State Park increase to $31 per night.

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• Increase in some group lodging fees: Mina Lake and Shadehill to $205 a night; and Lake Thompson, Palisades, Sheps Canyon, and Newton Hills to $280 a night.

• Fort Sisseton South Barracks rental will increase to $500.

• Lewis and Clark catamaran dry slip summer storage will increase to $325.

• The Angostura catamaran dry slip summer storage will increase to $175.

For the most up-to-date information about each state park, visit gfp.sd.gov.

Fishing access improved at Mickelson Pond in Pierre

The City of Pierre and South Dakota Game Fish and Parks (GFP) recently partnered to add four new fishing pods at Mickelson Pond in Pierre.

The City contracted with R&W Construction to do the work, and GFP will reimburse the City for half of the expense.

The City of Pierre and GFP previously partnered to do sediment dredging at the pond. A floating fish pier, four fishing pods, a vault toilet and lighting were added at that time.

The City built the road, parking lot and concrete walking trail, and installed the pond bridge and lighting. The City also added a public picnic shelter and playground equipment.

Mickelson Pond is located off Fourth Street in northeast Pierre.

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