State park’s open house weekend is May 22-23

State park's open house weekend is May 22-23 South Dakota's State Parks and Recreation areas are busy preparing for the 1999 open house weekend. This year, open house at the parks will be held May 22-23. During those two days, park entrance licenses are not needed for visiting the parks and you won't need a license for fishing. If you want to camp in the parks, however, normal camping fees will be charged.

This is a weekend that regular park visitors should use to encourage friends and family who haven't visited our state parks to do so. Many improvements and additions have been made at parks throughout South Dakota. This is a good chance to explore the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve or check out the new office and visitor station at Roy Lake. You can find new playground equipment at several of the parks like Angostura and Fisher Grove. Snake Creek boasts a new swimming beach and Lewis and Clark has a new amphitheater.

A special opportunity this year is on the George S. Mickelson Trail in the heart of the Black Hills. Trail users will be able to use the entire trail during this weekend without paying the trail user fee.

Doug Hofer, director of the division of Parks and Recreation, said, "The parks are really gearing up for the open house weekend. South Dakotans should be proud of what the parks and nature areas have to offer. Look at these two days as an opportunity to spend family time picnicing, going for a boat ride, or hiking on one of the many trails. I believe that once you give it a try, you're going to want to go back time and again."

Many of the parks will be hosting special programs during the open house weekend. Custer State Park will be dedicating the new Rocky Mountain Elk viewing platform on May 22nd. Palisades State Park will have the Big Sioux Trail Run, which includes prizes and refreshments. Lake Louise plans to conduct a fishing derby for the kids and Newton Hills will have movies in the amphitheater.

Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve has joined forces with the Isaac Walton League of McCook Lake to conduct a family fishing program. They will offer classes where you can learn the basics of fishing, including ethics and laws, and get to know South Dakota fish and some casting techniques.

These are just a few of the plans being made for open house weekend. More information will be coming your way as the weekend draws nearer. Mark your calendar now, though, and plan to spend the weekend checking out what your parks have to offer.

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