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SD Game, Fish and Parks to host self-guided hikes

SD Game, Fish and Parks to host self-guided hikes


 South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) isn't going to let social distancing get in the way of this year's first day hikes. Whether on a self-guided hike or one with limited participants, state parks invite you to celebrate the New Year outdoors on Jan. 1.

“Many of our events look different this year,” said South Dakota state park director Scott Simpson. “First Day Hikes have become a tradition in our state parks over the last several years, and we are going to continue that this year. The hikes are a great way to cure cabin fever and burn off those extra holiday calories all while social distancing in our beautiful parks.”

South Dakota state parks are offering nine hikes across the state.

• First Day Hike, Big Sioux Recreation Area near Brandon

• First Day Hikes: Creekside Trail, Little Devil's Tower, Prairie Trail, and Stockade Lake, Custer State Park near Custer

• First Day Hike (self-guided), Oakwood Lakes State Park near Brookings

• Self-guided First Day Hike, George S. Mickelson Trail

• Bald Eagle Park Walk (self-guided), Oahe Downstream Recreation Area near Pierre

• First Day Hike, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve near North Sioux City

• First Day Hike, Pelican Lake Recreation Area near Watertown.

CWD found In Mellette County

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) was recently confirmed in a new area in western South Dakota. Confirmation of the disease was obtained from hunters assisting with surveillance efforts coming from one adult male mule deer and one adult male white-tailed deer in Mellette County.

Mellette County is now considered in the CWD endemic area, meaning the disease has been confirmed and hunters who harvest deer or elk from this county must now follow the new CWD regulations to help reduce the spread of CWD.

South Dakota has now confirmed CWD in 16 counties of western and central South Dakota, which includes four counties added from deer sampled during the 2020 hunting season.

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal brain disease of deer, elk, and moose caused by an abnormal protein called a prion. Most harvested individuals with CWD will appear healthy and display no clinical signs. Animals in the later stages of infection with CWD may show progressive loss of weight and body condition, behavioral changes, excessive salivation, loss of muscle control and eventual death. Chronic wasting disease is always fatal for the afflicted animal. CWD poses serious problems for wildlife managers, and the implications of long-term management for free-ranging deer and elk is unknown.

For more information on CWD, visit or contact your local GFP office.

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