PARKS & WILDLIFE FOUNDATION
523 East Capitol Ave
Pierre, SD 57501-3182
The South Dakota Parks and Wildlife Foundation was chartered by five private citizens in 1985 to support wildlife enhancement and park development activities for the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks. Ten additional members were appointed by the Governor to fill out the balance of the Board membership. Replacements for Board members are nominated and appointed by the Board for three-year terms.
The Foundation has ongoing responsibilities to manage its assets, including the land and conservation easements it retains. Other aspects of Foundation work involve planning and fundraising for projects that conserve or improve the State's natural resources. Some examples of past projects and activities include:
The Foundation facilitated the purchase of 100 acres of additional land from a private landowner in 2010.Â These acres figure prominently in Brandonâ€™s desires for additional bike trail development.
The Foundation facilitated donation of 1500 acres of land along the Missouri River from two individuals to the Department and Foundation. The land was donated to interpret life during the homestead years and to provide wildlife habitat. The area features twelve miles of biking and walking trails, wildlife habitat areas, renovated historic buildings, a visitor/interpretive center and environmental education annex.
The Foundation raised funds for this112-mile Rails to Trails project. The Trail spans the Black Hills from Deadwood to Edgemont and is one of South Dakota's great recreational and scenic resources. A 3-mile extension from the city of Custer to Custer State Park was recently completed with funds raised by the Foundation.
The Foundation raised funds to build the Center, including its outdoor trails and education/interpretive sites. Environmental education and outdoor recreation are the focus of programming. The Center is staffed by the Department of Game, Fish and Parks and over 100 volunteers.
The Foundation purchased 320 acres with a grant from the National Park Service. It renovated the area to Lewis and Clark-era flora and fauna and provided interpretive displays.
The Foundation managed funds for the renovation of the old military fort. The surrounding land is a State Park and has camping facilities. Programming focuses on period history and interpretation of military life when the Fort was occupied.
The Foundation acted as an escrow agent for the Office of School and Public Lands to facilitate the exchange of isolated, landlocked tracts of School Lands for other parcels of private land. The program consolidated lands into larger blocks, streamlining government operations, increasing public access, and increasing revenues to the School fund.
In addition to the Assembled Exchange Program, the Foundation has assisted in acquisition of over 3000 acres of land for game production, public recreation and parks. Of this total, about 1/3 of the acres are owned and operated by the Foundation and the balanced are owned and operated by the state. An additional 1,400 acres of west river ranchland were purchased and are being leased back to the seller. The land is now available for public hunting.
The Foundation currently owns three easements encompassing nearly 1,000 acres on Lookout Mountain near Spearfish near Cedar Shores Resort near Chamberlain. The easements protect the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway and the viewshed of a part of the Missouri River.