PALISADES STATE PARK
2019 EXPANSION AND DEVELOPMENT CAMPAIGN
Palisades State Park is one of the most unique recreational and geological areas in South Dakota. Towering spires of Sioux quartzite straddle both sides of Split Rock Creek and provide for scenic and popular outdoor recreation experiences such as hiking, camping, photography, picnicking, rock climbing and nature appreciation. Palisades is located less than one mile south of Garretson, and about 21 miles from downtown Sioux Falls. At 167 acres, it is one of the state’s smallest state parks, however its visitation of 93,000 visitors in 2017, ranked 5th amongst state parks. The amount of use consolidated within a small area has put tremendous pressures on its infrastructure and natural resources.
PALISADES STATE PARK
Palisades State Park near Garretson will be expanding significantly. In recent months, 80 acres adjoining Palisades’ western boundary and encompassing Split Rock Creek were purchased by the South Dakota Parks and Wildlife Foundation and gifted to South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks. This land, along with an additional 177.5 acres recently bought in a land trade agreement, is set to more than double the current acreage of the park. These new lands (257.5 acres total) will provide for the necessary expansion of camping and day-use opportunities; allowing more visitors to experience Palisades than ever before. Palisades State Park’s small size has been the primary challenge to accommodate growth and expansion of services. Camping is extremely limited, parking for day use is insufficient, and hosting group events is difficult. The bridge over Split Rock Creek is over 110 years old and is currently not rated for most passenger vehicles. Additionally, there is no room for a park entrance station or interpretive interaction with the public to help tell the story of how the area was settled.
»»Became a State Park in 1972
»» Size: Currently 167 acres
»»Annual visitation: 90,000 people
»»Camping Cabins: 6
»» Lodge: 1
»»Miles of Trail: 1.9
»»Bridge to King and Queen Rock hiking area
was built in 1908 and is on the National
Register of Historic Places.
NATURAL RESOURCE PRIORITY
Governor Noem and South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) have made expansion and selected development of Palisades State Park a top priority for 2019. In a joint private-public partnership, GFP along with the South Dakota Parks and Wildlife Foundation (SDPWF) have secured land purchase agreements that will provide for park expansion and additional recreational opportunities. In Governor Noem’s 2019 legislative budget request, $500,000 was requested for additional park land development. The SDPWF has agreed to raise $1,600,000 to match this and GFP’s park expansion commitments.
»»Approximately 70 new campsites
»» 4 miles of new hiking and biking trail
»» Picnic and day use areas
»»Additional access along Split Rock Creek
»»Water trail features like canoe/kayak launches
»»Archery trail »»Dog training area for exercising pets off-leash
»» Improved habitat and wildlife viewing opportunities
»»Educational and interpretive facilities
$500,000 in general funds will serve as a critical challenge grant to generate public/private partnerships and donations to facilitate the development of key infrastructure and access to facilities. Master planning and public input for the property and improvements will take place in 2019. The first stage of development will include a new entrance road that will serve as the main access to the park. Landscape and habitat conversions will also take place. Infrastructure and utility needs will be implemented. Campground, trail, and other amenities will also be priorities. For the last several years the camping occupancy has reached 98-99 percent and it is not uncommon to meet several dozen hikers while on trails. It is also a destination for weddings and group events. The Sioux Falls metro area is experiencing significant growth in its population, economy and demands for public services and recreational opportunities. The demand for park services far exceeds its current capacity.
For information, please contact Dick Brown, Development Director, at 605-941-3156 or via email. Or call Executive Director, Lisa Weyer at 605.773.4503 or via email.