Good Earth State Park at Blood Run dedicated Friday

Gov. Dennis Daugaard and Iowa Governor Terry Branstad cut the ribbon dedicating South Dakota’s newest state park, Good Earth State Park at Blood Run near Sioux Falls. Pictured with the Governors are (L-R) Wesley Hare Jr., Yankton Sioux Tribe; Wynema Morris, Omaha Tribe of Nebraska; Calvin Harlan, Omaha Tribe of Nebraska; Gov. Branstad; Gov. Daugaard; Jeff Vonk, Game, Fish and Parks Secretary; Jeff Scherschligt, past president, SD Parks and Wildlife Foundation; Doug Hofer, SD State Park director; Rob Oliver, Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce Board chair.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard and Iowa Governor Terry Branstad cut the ribbon dedicating South Dakota’s newest state park, Good Earth State Park at Blood Run near Sioux Falls. Pictured with the Governors are (L-R) Wesley Hare Jr., Yankton Sioux Tribe; Wynema Morris, Omaha Tribe of Nebraska; Calvin Harlan, Omaha Tribe of Nebraska; Gov. Branstad; Gov. Daugaard; Jeff Vonk, Game, Fish and Parks Secretary; Jeff Scherschligt, past president, SD Parks and Wildlife Foundation; Doug Hofer, SD State Park director; Rob Oliver, Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce Board chair.

Nearly 400 people gathered Friday morning, July 19, to watch South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad dedicate Good Earth State Park at Blood Run, the first South Dakota state park in 40 years.

“Organized efforts to recognize this important cultural site began more than four decades ago,” Daugaard said. “Today we celebrate the culmination of those efforts with the dedication of South Dakota’s 13th state park.”

Good Earth State Park at Blood Run is located southeast of Sioux Falls and is part of the Blood Run National Historic Landmark. The landmark lies on both sides of the Big Sioux River at the mouth of Blood Run Creek and includes more than 3,000 acres of land in South Dakota and Iowa.

“This is a wonderful example of a great public/private partnership,” Branstad said. “In Iowa, we are excited to partner with South Dakota to create a state park that encompasses two states.”

Blood Run is considered by archaeologists as the most significant Oneota cultural site in the Midwest. European explorers or early settlers are believed to have named the area Blood Run for the reddish flows of an area creek containing iron. The site served as an important gathering place and trading center for American Indians from 1350 to 1700 A.D.

Good Earth was officially designated as a state park during the 2013 Legislative Session, but the project has been in the works since the National Park Service first designated the Blood Run site a national Historic Landmark in 1970.

This is a special victory for Doug Hofer who has worked as state park director during much of the process.

“Partnerships have been integral to this project from the beginning,” Hofer said. “After so many years of work, it’s exciting to know that Good Earth is finally part of the state park system.”

Hofer says future plans for the park include a visitor center, hiking trails and programming focusing on the cultural and historical significance of the site.

For more information on Good Earth State Park at Blood Run, visit www.gfp.sd.gov.

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