Guest Commentary: Infinite variety in South Dakota

By Gov. Dennis Daugaard

It has been said that South Dakota is the land of infinite variety. Our weather in the past month has certainly proven that to be true.

Fortunately, the description of our variety also extends to South Dakota’s geography. We are home to wide-open grasslands and lakes, mountains and streams, and the beautiful, flowing Missouri River.

Because of our diverse landscapes, a wealth of state parks are scattered across South Dakota.

Whether you are interested in a day at the beach at Sandy Shore near Watertown, a fishing trip at Indian Creek by Mobridge or a getaway weekend in our beautiful Black Hills, let South Dakota’s parks be your host this summer.

Few states can compete with the number of options that our state park system provides to South Dakotans and those who visit us, and we will continue to improve. This year, we enacted a bill that created our first new state park in 41 years – Good Earth State Park, at the Blood Run National Historic Site in Lincoln County.

The new park will be located near one of South Dakota’s fastest growing areas, southeast of Sioux Falls. The beautiful scenery will be preserved for visitors to enjoy for years to come. I invite each of you to visit South Dakota’s newest state park.

As you make your Memorial Day and summer vacation plans, I hope you will consider exploring the beauty in our own back yard. In fact, this weekend is Open House weekend from Friday evening through Sunday (May 17-19), where all state park entrance admissions are free.

In addition, May 17-19 is free-fishing weekend, allowing all South Dakotans to fish from Friday through Sunday license-free. These events coincide with our celebration of Kids to Parks day, a national promotion linking our young people with the great outdoors.

This weekend, and all year round, making arrangements to camp, hike, hunt or fish has never been easier. Our citizens can now visit or download the South Dakota Outdoors smartphone app to get directions, book a campground, buy a hunting or fishing license or just learn more about all that our state park system has to offer.

I think you will be pleasantly surprised at what you find here in South Dakota.

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