Good Earth State Park at Blood Run National Historic Landmark

Good Earth State Park is South Dakota’s newest State Park; its land base contains world-famous cultural and historic assets fifteen minutes from Sioux Falls. Governor Daugaard refers to this projects as “South Dakota’s top priority for conservation and resource protection.”

The new park borders the Big Sioux River at Blood Run Creek. Abundant wildlife, fertile flood plains, fresh water springs, old-growth forest and nearby catlinite (pipestone) quarries made the area a prominent sacred ceremonial and trading location for thousands of indigenous peoples from 1500 until 1700. The Native American history at the site dates back more than 8,000 years. 

Dotted with artifacts and lands of archaeological importance, the landmark is the largest and most significant repository of Oneota culture and history in the world. It is also a place of great beauty and serenity and is located just eight miles southeast of downtown Sioux Falls.

The Blood Run archeological sites in both Iowa and South Dakota were designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970. The State of South Dakota and visionary private individuals began efforts to secure some of the 1,200 acres of the Landmark on the South Dakota (west) side of the Big Sioux River for public ownership in 1996. Additional land purchases have taken place at an accelerated pace since 2011.

A master plan was developed for this area in 2011 with substantial input from Native American tribes and other publics. Input is continually sought and incorporated into the master plan as the project moves forward. The area was designated a State Park in 2013 and many improvements have been completed including interpretive sites and popular hiking trails. Additionally, Iowa has recently begun to plan development of the eastern part of the Landmark and is coordinating its efforts with South Dakota.

The discovery of 2,000-year-old geoglyphs, in 2014, delayed construction of a new visitor center at the Park. An alternate site was selected and ground was broken in late 2015 for a world-class visitor center that will portray the culture of the Oneota peoples that gave the site its significance. Construction of the new visitor center is progressing well and is scheduled to open to the public May 19, time TBD.

The State of South Dakota, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks and the South Dakota Parks and Wildlife Foundation have formed a partnership to fund development of Good Earth State Park. Both the State and the Foundation have committed approximately $7 million to land purchases and development efforts. The Parks and Wildlife Foundation has raised more than $6.5 million to date and plan to reach their fundraising goal in 2016. Donors of $50,000 or more will be permanently recognized in or near the visitor center.

For information, please contact our office at 605.773.4503 or via email.