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GFP News - october 8, 2014

Fort Sisseton Historic State Park Offering "Haunted" Tour

FORT SISSETON HISTORIC STATE PARK, S.D. -- Just in time for Halloween, Fort Sisseton Historic State Park near Lake City is hosting a Haunted Fort Tour on Saturday, Oct. 18, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. CT.

Dare to brave the haunted grounds and feel the chills of 150 years of history coming back to life! Follow the creaking boardwalk through several of the fort's most legendary buildings. Look out for the ghosts of children rumored to haunt the schoolhouse, and see if you can catch a glimpse of the famous White Lady in the Commanding Officer's Quarters.

"We decided to do the haunted tours because we really wanted to give people a different way to explore the fort and experience the history that 'lives on,'" said Fort Sisseton manager Christopher Soukup. "Many local residents have ghost stories from the fort, and we thought it would be fun to share them this Halloween."

The recommended age for the tours is 14 years and older. Minors must be accompanied by an adult. Tours are by appointment only, as a limited number of spots are available. Reserve a spot by calling 605-448-5474.

Fort Sisseton Historic State Park is located 10 miles southwest of Lake City off SD Highway 10.


Division of Parks and Recreation Honors Employees

SPEARFISH, S.D. -- 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 Spearfish.

"This year's honorees were all very deserving," said Bob Schneider, assistant director of the Division of Parks and Recreation. "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."

Shannon Percy of Deadwood received the 2014 South Dakota State Parks Distinguished Service Award. Each year, one GFP employee who embodies the mission of the state park system is selected for the honor. Percy has been employed at the Black Hills Trails office in Lead for the last 15 years.

"Shannon's can-do attitude and eagerness to help out makes him a great asset to the division," stated Black Hills regional supervisor Matt Snyder. "Shannon continually juggles the priorities and keeps everything afloat."

Julie Brazell of Custer and Linda Birchall of Pierre received Awards of Appreciation.

Brazell is the head Naturalist at Custer State Park. She manages programming in Custer State Park and also does outreach programming at Angostura Recreation Area near Hot Springs and Rocky Point Recreation Area near Belle Fourche.

"Julie brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her position, but it is her sincere passion for sharing the natural and cultural wonders of Custer State Park and South Dakota that make her shine," said Craig Pugsley, visitor services coordinator for Custer State Park. "She goes the extra mile every day for our guests, her staff and the students she interacts with."

Birchall is the senior secretary for the Division of Parks and Recreation in the Pierre office.

"Linda has extensive knowledge of the state park system and is able to respond to a wide variety of park user questions," said Schneider. "She keeps the office on track and does so with efficiency and a great demeanor."

Schneider presented the teamwork award to the staff involved with rebuilding shooting ranges near the city of Mobridge and at Oahe Downstream Recreation Area near Fort Pierre in recognition of their hard work to develop shooting sports opportunities in both communities.

"Hunting and shooting sports are extremely popular past times in South Dakota," said Schneider. "These ranges will provide convenient and safe places for hunters and target shooters to hone their skills."

Members of the team include Pat Buscher, Erik Richter, Jeremy Pasbrig and Ross Hatheway, Oahe Downstream Recreation Area; Dan Richards and Jack Pringle, Indian Creek Recreation Area; Ryan Persoon, district 13 park supervisor; Greg Otkin, GFP Engineering Section; and Jordan Kitts and Doug Delaroi with the Division of Wildlife.

Park staff at District 6 based out of Snake Creek Recreation Area near Platte was recognized with the 2014 Innovation Award.
The team improved accessibility to the boat ramp at Platte Creek Recreation Area by building a hand rail that leads to the water. The rail has the capability of coming apart in sections to accommodate the fluctuating water levels of the Missouri River.

"Boat ramps by nature are challenging from a visitor accessibility standpoint," said regional park supervisor Jeff VanMeeteren. "Park staff came up with a unique solution to a complex issue by constructing a hand rail on one side of the boat ramp that offers disabled users a source of stability as they walk down the ramp."

Individuals involved in the project include, Justin Thede, Clay Peck and Cass Pierce.

The 2014 Seasonal Employee of the Year Award was given to Siebert Dorhout, who has been employed at Lake Cochrane Recreation Area near Clear Lake for the past 15 summers.

"Siebert's customer service is second to none," said District Park Supervisor Jay DeLange. "He has taken great pride in the appearance and up-keep of the park and without his dedication and hard work, Lake Cochrane wouldn't be what it is today."

Walt and Sue Jensen were named the South Dakota State Park Volunteers of the Year. The couple has been campground hosts at Pierson Ranch Recreation Area since 2010.

"Walt and Sue have always taken pride in their campground as volunteer campground hosts. They maintain the park like it is their own yard," said Lewis and Clark District Park Supervisor Shane Bertsch. "We received several positive comments from the public regarding Walt and Sue this summer."

The Jensens have put in 4,500 volunteer hours with South Dakota state parks.



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