GFP News - July 11, 2013

  • Good Earth Dedication July 19
  • State Parks Offer Weekend Events

Good Earth Dedication July 19

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- On July 19, South Dakota will officially dedicate Good Earth State Park at Blood Run as its first new state park in over 40 years.

"We want to preserve this culturally significant site for future generations," said Gov. Dennis Daugaard. "By setting aside this land as a state park we will protect its natural beauty and provide an excellent educational opportunity about a site that was a peaceful Native American trading and ceremonial center for centuries."

Good Earth State Park at Blood Run is located just southeast of Sioux Falls and is part of the Blood Run National Historic Landmark. The landmark lies on both sides of the Big Sioux River at the mouth of Blood Run Creek, and includes over 3,000 acres of land in South Dakota and Iowa.

The river, abundant wildlife, fertile flood plains, availability of pipestone and protection from winds made the site an important gathering place and trading center for American Indians from 1350 to 1700 A.D. During the latter part of that period, Blood Run was the largest Oneota site known to exist anywhere. Archeologists speculate that there were 6,000 to 10,000 people utilizing the village that served as a trade and ceremonial center for the entire region.

The park was officially designated as a state park during the 2013 Legislative session but the project has been in the works for several decades.

The National Park Service recognized the site’s cultural and historical significance and named Blood Run a National Historic Landmark in 1970. Over the next several decades, the states of South Dakota and Iowa purchased pieces of land within the landmark.

The major acquisitions came recently in South Dakota, where over 400 acres of pristine natural property have been added to the park over the last two years.

"Partnerships have been key to this project from the beginning," said Doug Hofer, South Dakota State Parks Director. "The outpouring of support from both public and private entities has been phenomenal."

Hofer noted The Conservation Fund as an important partner. As a national non-profit organization dedicated to saving special places and land for public use, the organization acquired a key portion of the park and held it until funding was available for the state to purchase the property.

Hofer also praised the many donors that have contributed to the project, as well as the South Dakota Parks and Wildlife Foundation for their major role in leading the fundraising effort.

The dedication, which is open to the public, will take place 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. CDT on July 19 at the site. Scheduled speakers include Gov. Daugaard, GFP Secretary Jeff Vonk, members of area tribes, SD Parks and Wildlife Foundation Past President Jeff Scherschligt and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad. Guided hikes of the new park will be offered following the ceremony.

For more information on Good Earth State Park at Blood Run, visit


State Parks Offer Weekend Events

PIERRE, S.D. -- South Dakota state parks are offering a variety of weekend events for visitors to enjoy July 19-21. The activities are a great way for people of all ages to enjoy the outdoors.

Make plans to attend the following:

  • Halloween in July, Oakwood Lakes State Park near Bruce, July 19-21. Decorate your campsite for Halloween, bring costumes for a fashion show and go trick-or-treating. Be sure to bring candy for the trick-or-treaters! Info: 605-627-5441.
  • Outrageous Outdoors, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve near North Sioux City, July 19, 10 a.m. to noon CDT. Come and enjoy two hours of nature games and activities in the great outdoors. This program is fun and free for kids ages 6 to 10 years old. Pre-registration required: 605-232-0873.
  • Nature Hike, Good Earth State Park at Blood Run near Sioux Falls, July 20, 9 a.m. CDT. Join a nature hike through the new Good Earth State Park which is within the Blood Run National Historic Landmark. This nature walk will be an intro and exploration of the new Good Earth State Park at Blood Run – the 13th South Dakota State Park and first in 40 years. Info: 605-987-2263 or, Pre-register: 605-362-2777 or
  • Sand Sculpture Showcase, Lake Poinsett Recreation Area near Arlington, July 20, 10 a.m. CDT. Great for all ages! Build a sand castle, animal or other creative sculpture by yourself or with a team. Prizes for all! Info: 605-983-5085
  • Un-nature Hike, Newton Hills State Park near Canton, July 20, 11 a.m. CDT.  You will need a keen eye for this hike! It will start at the Woodland Trailhead on the lower road of the park. Hikers will be challenged to spot items that have been hidden and do not belong on the trail. Info: 605-987-2263
  • Treasure Hunt in a Bottle, Newton Hills State Park near Canton, July 20, 1 p.m. CDT. Create your own treasure hunt in a bottle at this make and take craft! Info: 605-987-2263
  • Insect Hike, Roy Lake State Park near Lake City, July 20, 3 p.m. CDT. Join us for a hike and learn about the insects that inhabit the park. Info: 605-448-5701.
  • Full Moon Howl Prowl Hike, Lewis and Clark Recreation Area near Yankton, July 20, 10 p.m. CDT. Bring only your night vision along for this night hike -- the moon will be providing our only needed light.  All ages welcome. Info: 605-668-2985
  • Oakwood Lakes Canoe/Kayak Tour, Oakwood Lakes State Park near Bruce, July 21, 12:30 – 4 p.m. CDT. Meet at the swimming beach for this annual tradition. All ages welcome. Bring your own canoe or kayak or rent one. Registration: 12:30 p.m. Poker Run: 1:30 p.m. ($9/person) Blindfold Canoe Race: 3:30 p.m. Prizes: 4 p.m. Info: 605-627-5441
  • Umonhon Culture, Good Earth State Park at Blood Run near Sioux Falls, July 21, 2 p.m. CDT. Learn a few history tips of this culturally rich site where several thousand American Indians settled between the 12th and 17th Centuries, told from the Umonhon (Omaha) tribe perspective. Samples of pottery and tools used in this Indian Village will be available during the hike. Info: 605-987-2263 or Pre-registration required: 605-362-2777 or

There is no cost to participate in any of the programs, except the Canoe/Kayak Tour; however, a park entrance license is required to enter the parks. The programs are held in addition to regular activities hosted by individual parks on summer weekends.

Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable walking shoes, dress for the weather, bring bug spray and plenty of drinking water.

For more information on South Dakota state parks and a calendar of upcoming events, visit or call 605-773-3391.