GFP Commission proposes fee changes for state parks

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission proposed changes to state park campground classifications, as well as some entrance and facility fees.

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

The department recently 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, Ceroll said, but fees at several parks would see a modest increase as they are moved into the correct category.

The proposal would establish the following campground classifications:

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

Modern campgrounds: Less than 80 per cent 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 seven 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 32 campgrounds.

Other fee changes proposed 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.

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.

The proposal also calls for fee increases for the use of the following state park facilities:

Fort Sisseton South Barracks rental would increase to $500.

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

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

Details of the proposed changes can be viewed at http://gfp.sd.gov/agency/commission/.

The Commission will finalize this proposal Nov. 2-3, 2017, at the McCrory Gardens in Brookings. Written comments can be sent to wildinfo@state.sd.us. To be part of the public record, comments must be received by 11 a.m. MDT on Nov. 2. Please include a full name along with the city and state of residence. To comment in person, the public hearing will be held Nov. 2, at 1 p.m. MDT at McCrory Gardens in Brookings.

Funding available for outdoor recreation

South Dakota State Parks and Recreation Director Katie Ceroll announced Wednesday that applications are being accepted for grants from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

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Public outdoor recreation projects sponsored by city, county, township and tribal governments are eligible to receive the grant money.

"Outdoor recreation is important to a healthy community," Ceroll said in a release. "The variety of recreational activities that local parks have to offer allows families to spend time together close to home."

The Land and Water Conservation Fund provides up to 50 percent reimbursement for approved outdoor recreation projects.

“Grants will be awarded for development or renovation of public outdoor recreation facilities or the acquisition of park land," Ceroll said. "The grants will be a minimum of $10,000 and the maximum will be $75,000 in federal funds. There will be $425,000 available to award to projects." Application packets are available online at gfp.sd.gov. The application deadline is Dec. 8.

The Department of Game, Fish and Parks will work with successful grant applicants to assist in complying with new federal grant reporting and monitoring requirements and new state internal control and conflict-of-interest requirements.

LWCF funds are federal dollars that are apportioned to states by Congress to fund public outdoor recreation projects. For more information contact grants coordinator Randy Kittle at 605.773.5490 or email randy.kittle@state.sd.us.

Additional elk hunting opportunity proposed for Custer State Park

A proposal from the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission would increase the number of licenses available for a special Custer State Park antlerless elk hunting season from 20 to 60.

The proposal would also establish a new antlerless elk hunting unit for these additional antlerless elk licenses which allows GFP department officials to use adaptive management to learn more about the chronic wasting disease (CWD) infection rate of elk inside the park.

"Chronic wasting disease prevalence rates from the 2016 elk hunting season are a concern for both the short and long term status of the Black Hills elk population," stated Tony Leif, director of the Division of Wildlife. "This additional harvest will help us better understand prevalence rates, reduce numbers where elk congregate and provide additional information to construct season structures for the 2018 hunting season."

The Commission will finalize this proposal Nov. 2-3, 2017, at the McCrory Gardens in Brookings. Written comments can be sent to wildinfo@state.sd.us. To be part of the public record, comments must be received by 11 a.m. MDT on Nov. 2. Please include a full name along with the city and state of residence. To comment in person, the public hearing will be held Nov. 2, at 1 p.m. MDT at McCrory Gardens in Brookings.

 

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