Palisades camping expansion on track


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The expansion of the campground at Palisades State Park near Garretson is on track, state Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) officials said at a Feb. 1 Legislative Joint Committee on Appropriations meeting.

“Everything is on track to break ground in 2023,” GFP secretary Kevin Robling told the committee.

The expansion project will add about 74 camping spots, Robling said.

The goal is to open the new campsites in 2024.

The construction costs have increased but the GFP has accounted for that, Robling said.

The fiscal year 2024 budget includes $2.5 million for the Palisades project.

Scott Simpson, deputy director of the GFP and former director of parks and recreation, said the project includes camping spots, a welcome center and a comfort station.

Through November of 2022, Palisades had 6,694 camping units which is a 14% increase over 2021.

Committee member Republican Sen. Jim Bolin asked about the status of a possible campground expansion at Good Earth in relation to property the state has at the Spring Creek Golf Course.

KELOLAND reporter Bob Mercer reported in June 2022 that restrictions on land bought by the South Dakota Parks and Wildlife Foundation included a ban on camping on land that sits southwest of Good Earth State Park for the 10 years of the purchase contract.

Robling said there is no desire at this time to convert the golf course. The GFP does continue to look at a trail that would link Good Earth to Lake Alvin State Recreation Area.

There is no camping at Good Earth or Lake Alvin State Recreation Area.

Committee member Republican Sen. Ryan Maher asked about the gun range near Sturgis in Meade County.

The GFP has been working with Meade County on a site, Robling said. Fundraising for the project continues, he said.

The GFP plans to use Pittman-Robertson money for the shooting complex. That is money collected by the federal government from the sale of guns, ammunition and similar. It is distributed to states based on a formula.

Robling said 20 years ago most of the Pittman-Robertson money was generated by hunters. That’s been changing as most money is generated by recreational shooters.

“It’s our obligation to give recreational shooters a return on that,” Robling said.

396,937 Camping Nights
• 7.8 Million Park Visitations in 2022
Top 5 Most Visited Parks

  1. Custer State Park
  2. Lewis & Clark Recreation Area
  3. Spring Creek Recreation Area
  4. Oahe Downstream Recreation Area
  5. Lake Alvin Recreation Area


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