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SD State Parks to host Halloween events

South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) will host trick-or-treaters at special events this Halloween season.

Make plans to attend a Halloween event:

Halloween Hike at the Outdoor Campus in Sioux Falls, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2-5 p.m. 

Division of parks and recreation honors employees

The South Dakota Division of Parks and Recreation recently recognized several individuals for their dedication and hard work in the state parks system. The awards were made at the division’s fall meeting in Aberdeen.

"This year’s honorees were all very deserving," said Bob Schneider, assistant director of the Division of Parks and Recreation, said in a release. "The dedication of those individuals can be seen in parks across the state and is enjoyed by the many visitors to South Dakota state parks and recreation areas each year."

Mike Ullrich of Aberdeen and Jody Moats of North Sioux City received 2017 South Dakota State Parks Distinguished Service Awards. South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks employees who embody the mission of the state park system are selected for the honor.

Ullrich has served Richmond and Mina Lake Recreation Areas for nearly 40 years. According to the Division of Parks, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve park manager Jody Moats has made a big impact on her park since taking over in 2014.

Mark Robinson received an Award of Appreciation for serving a vital role as conservation technician at Palisades State park since 1990.

A Program Innovation Award was given to a group of individuals who implemented the Jay Heath Canoe and Kayak Trail on the Big Sioux River. The project took inventory of access sites, campsites and hazards along the trail, placed signs and developed an interactive web-based map.

Those involved with the project include district park supervisor Travis Theilen of Palisades State Park, district park supervisor Jason Bauman of Newton Hills State Park, Big Sioux Recreation Area park manager John Dummer, Good Earth State Park manager Jim Henning, Palisades State Park conservation technician Mark Robinson, and visitor services coordinator Lynn Spomer and GIS specialist Heather Berg both of Pierre.

Teamwork Awards were presented to two different groups. The first, to the staff involved with cleanup efforts at Pickerel Lake and Roy Lake. A Dec. 26, ice storm caused major damage to trees and knocked out electricity at both parks. The crew put in 760 hours of tree work in addition to their regular duties.

Team members include Lori Skadsen, Dan Grewing, George Flanery, Chris Soukup, Matt Nelson, Dalaine Pleinis, Steve Kurkowski, Jerry Amerman, Ed Babcock, Cameron Fischer, Richard Spurgin, Wayne Klungseth, Glen Lueck and John Wickre.

The second teamwork award recognized park employees involved in ongoing improvements to the state park camping reservation and point-of-sale system.

Team members include Willy Collignon, northeast regional park supervisor; Derek Dorr, Lake Vermillion park manager; Heath Stone, Sandy Shore park manager; Brandon Brake, Farm Island park manager; Katy Hiltunen, program assistant in the Pierre office; and Lindsey Hildebrant, Custer State Park business manager.

The 2017 Seasonal Employee of the Year Award was given to Hailee Eisenbeisz, who has been employed at Lake Poinsett Recreation Area near Arlington for the past three summers.

Jamie Richards earned the 2017 Volunteer Employee of the Year Award. Richards has taken on the role of volunteer coordinator at Good Earth State Park near Sioux Falls.

Halloween Hike at the Outdoor Campus in Rapid City, Friday, Oct. 27, 5-8 p.m. 

Halloween Hike at Custer State Park, Friday and Saturday, Oct. 27-28, 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Peter Norbeck Outdoor Education Center. Hikes depart every 15 minutes. Reservations required: 605.255.4464

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Trick-or-Treat Trails at Big Sioux Recreation Area near Brandon, Saturday, Oct. 28, 4-7 p.m. 

Trick-or-Treat Trails at LaFramboise Island in Pierre, Sunday, Oct. 29, 3-6 p.m. CT.

There is no cost to participate in the hikes, but a park entrance license is required where applicable. Participants should wear comfortable hiking shoes and dress for the weather. Children must be accompanied by adults. Costumes are encouraged for the hikes but not required.

For more information on GFP events, visit

Mickelson pond stocked with thousand plus rainbow trout

Cleghorn Springs State Fish Hatchery staff released 1,200 11-inch rainbow trout into Mickelson Pond on Wednesday in Pierre.

The water temperatures have cooled making it suitable for trout this fall and winter. A cooperative project between the City of Pierre and the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks led to installation of an Americans with Disabilities Act accessible floating fishing pier, shore fishing areas, a vault toilet, parking area and other amenities.

The pond will be stocked with warm water fish like bass, bluegills and crappies in the spring and summer months and with trout when the water cools in the fall.

Mickelson pond was constructed by the city of Pierre in 1995. It is located on the north side of 4th Street.

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