SD Photographer Paul Horsted Urges “No” Vote On HB 1048—A Bill That Would Place a Campground In A Wildlife Area At Custer State Park, SD
HB 1048 – A Bill That Would Add To The Traffic, Congestion and Noise In The Middle Of The Custer State Park Wildlife Preserve, According To Conservationists
If you’re just tuning in, House Bill 1048 in the House Ag and Natural Resources Committee would turn this prairie plateau into a 175-site, $10 million campground in an area of Custer State Park, South Dakota, that has never before seen such a level of development. The plan has been publicly opposed by former Director of Custer State Park Rollie Noem, and by former Game, Fish and Parks Secretary John Cooper (Sioux Falls Argus Leader, 1/18/22[pls add link url]). It’s also opposed by the South Dakota Campground Owners’ Association, who rightly think that if more campsites are needed then that’s an issue for private enterprise, not for the State, which is already, from their point of view, serving unfair competition for their own customers.
The bill is apparently opposed by many others, who shared my previous post more than 600 times in the past 36 hours. It seems we all agree that this will bring a new level of traffic and noise to the park, that it is bad for wildlife who inhabit the area year-around, and that it will degrade the scenic beauty of a place we all treasure.
Temperatures this morning hovered around zero; but the two bison didn’t seem to mind, as they grazed for their breakfast. The sun rose on one side while the moon set on the other, bringing us and them a day closer to a decision about whether these bison, elk and other wildlife will roam freely here in the future or be displaced by what might better be called the “CSP RV Park.” A while later I spotted a herd of elk on a ridge a couple of miles south…a few minutes’ walk for them.
It’s my understanding that if HB 1048 is passed through the Ag and Natural Resources Committee (next week), it will then go directly to the Appropriations Committee to be added to the general budget (it’s only $10 million, after all). I am told it will probably NOT GET A FLOOR VOTE in the full House. So action is required.
May I suggest that you email each member of the Ag and Natural Resources Committee (who are considering this bill) if you would like to stop HB 1048 before it gets rubber-stamped and sent to Appropriations. Each member’s email address is listed below. You can also call 605-773-3851 and ask for someone in particular or else leave a message for the Committee. You may also testify remotely before the committee or submit written testimony in advance. Email for more information, or to get on the agenda:
I’ve already heard of one “compromise” that may get written into HB 1048: it’s to build the campground but then close it in the winter and spring, allegedly to avoid disturbing the elk. But the elk are there year-around, or would be without the campground in the middle of their traffic pattern. Also, this notion does not address the noise and visual blight, the increased traffic, and the concerns of private campground owners. Use any of this or your own thoughts for the emails that you send.
Thank you again for helping with this effort to preserve this beautiful South Dakota park.
General email address: