GFP News - March 12, 2013
- Funding Available for Trails
- Snowmobile Trails in Eastern South Dakota Close after a Great Season
- Fort Randall Dam Tailwater Trout Stocking
- Spearing/Archery Survey Results Available Online
Funding Available for Trails
PIERRE, S.D. -- South Dakota State Parks Director Doug Hofer announced today that applications are being accepted for grants from the Recreation Trails Program (RTP). The grants will be available for trail projects sponsored by municipalities, counties, state parks, civic organizations or tribal governments.
"When it comes to promoting healthy communities, recreational trails are key," Hofer said. "As safe corridors for exercise and recreation, trails give families the opportunity to spend quality time together and enjoy the natural beauty of our state."
The Recreational Trails Program provides partial reimbursement for approved trail projects. Eligible projects include construction of new public trails, rehabilitation of existing public trails, development of trail-related facilities, and educational programs that relate to recreational trails.
The application deadline is Friday, May 3, 2013.
RTP funds come to the state through the Federal Highway Administration and are apportioned to states by Congress to fund both motorized and non-motorized public recreation trail projects. The amount of funds available is based upon the number of recreational vehicles licensed in each state.
Snowmobile Trails in Eastern South Dakota Close after a Great Season
PIERRE, S.D. -- Eastern South Dakota experienced great snowmobiling conditions during the 2012-2013 snowmobile season, but March 15 marks the official end of the season for the east river trail system.
"After last winter, when snowfall was minimal, snowmobilers were able to take advantage of great riding conditions throughout this winter," said Tony Schmitt, State Trails Program Specialist of the Department of Game, Fish and Parks. "Snowmobile clubs were busy and did a great job maintaining the trails in their areas."
Through a Grant-In-Aid program, local snowmobile clubs groomed, signed and maintained over 1,152 miles of trails this season.
The trails in the Black Hills officially remain open until March 31, but with warm temperatures expected, grooming will be on a limited rotation.
"Grooming operations will be limited to those areas that have snow cover unless we receive additional snow accumulations," said Shannon Percy, Black Hills Trails District Park Supervisor. "The outer fringes of our system are starting to shrink up."
The snowmobile trails program is funded entirely by snowmobile users through license registration fees, fuel tax reimbursement and an excise tax on the sale of snowmobiles in South Dakota.
Fort Randall Dam Tailwater Trout Stocking
The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department will stock approximately 15,000 trout below Ft. Randall Dam.
If weather permits, the first stocking of trout in the boat basin below Ft. Randall Dam will occur on Friday, March 15.
"About 7,500 trout will be released on March 15 with the remaining 7,500 arriving on March 22," Jason Sorensen, GFP Fisheries Biologist in Chamberlain said.
Trout are stocked annually below Ft. Randall Dam to provide a unique fishing opportunity in addition to other excellent fishing opportunities available in the area.
Crews from McNenny State Fish Hatchery in Spearfish will stock brown trout and two strains of rainbow trout below Ft. Randall Dam. "There are 5,000 each of brown trout, Shasta strain rainbow trout and McConaughy strain rainbow trout scheduled to be stocked below Ft. Randall Dam," Sorensen said.
One strain of rainbow trout has been marked with a fin clip to aid in differentiating them. An on-going research project hopes to help maximize stocking efficiency.
"We will again be evaluating the return of these different species/strains to the angler creel to provide insight into which species should be stocked in future years to give us our biggest return for each sportsman dollar invested," Sorensen said.
Monitoring is done over the course of several years to decrease the effects of variables such as weather and post-stocking survival. One main objective of the stocking is to return trout to the angler creel.
According to Sorensen, the trout range between 9-12 inches in length and bite readily, providing excellent angling opportunities for kids of all ages as well as adults. Excellent shoreline access and boat launching facilities in the area provide angling opportunities for both boat and shore anglers.
Spearing/Archery Survey Results Available Online
PIERRE, SD -- South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks recently finalized results from a series of surveys aimed at gauging angler attitudes towards spearfishing and bowfishing in South Dakota.
Both anglers who held a game fish spearing and archery fishing permit during the 2011 fishing season and those who did not hold this permit were randomly surveyed in this effort.
"Knowing what sportsmen and women want and trying to provide opportunity where available is a major part of managing the aquatic resources in this state." said Geno Adams, Fisheries Program Administrator for Game, Fish and Parks. "There's been an information gap when it comes to spearfishing and bowfishing, which these surveys will help fill."
The objectives of these surveys were 1) to gather basic statistics on spearfishing and bowfishing user groups; 2) to gather information regarding available opportunity for spearing and bowfishing in SD, and hook/line angler attitudes towards these opportunities; and 3) to better understand resident spearing and bowfishing anglers' perceptions of safety issues, rules and regulations, as well as perceived conflict with hook/line anglers.
Results from this survey will be used to identify group and individual views, values, wants, and needs regarding spearfishing and bowfishing, and incorporate this human dimensions data into the decision-making process in relation to the overall health of South Dakota's fisheries resources.
To view the results from these surveys, visit the Game, Fish and Parks website at http://www.gfp.sd.gov/fishing-boating/tacklebox/default.aspx