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Staci Weisser and William Fisher look at the rainbow and brown trout in the underground viewing area at the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery in Spearfish.

Spearfish | In an apparent reversal by federal officials, it now looks like the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery in Spearfish will not be closed on Oct. 1 as once feared, hatchery backers said today.

The historic hatchery and tourist destination east of Interstate 90 north of Spearfish was on a list of facilities likely to be closed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of a larger plan to save money.

The news of the possible shutdown was met with a local public outcry against the closure due to the historic nature of the facility and its role in attracting tourists.

But members of the Booth Society, a citizens’ group that promotes and protects the hatchery, said late Thursday that they had been informed the fish and wildlife service was not intent on closing the facility next month. Instead, federal officials said they are granting more time to review hatcheries across the country to determine which may be closed.

“Local staff were informed by the regional FWS office in Denver this morning that hatcheries in the National Fish Hatchery system will be undergoing further review in Fiscal Year 2014, which runs from Oct. 1, 2013 through Sept. 30, 2014,” the Booth Society said in a release.

Meanwhile, the fight to save the facility is not over: Booth Society members say they will continue to write letters and pressure officials to keep the hatchery open.

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