South Dakota’s congressional delegation is backing legislation to create a state park in the center of Spearfish Canyon. The proposed park includes federal and non-federal land near Roughlock Falls and the town of Savoy.
Homestake Gold Mine originally owned part of the area in the proposed state park around Spearfish Falls. Susan Johnson is with Spearfish Canyon Foundation. She says the land exchange legislation has been in the works for some time, and that the foundation’s happy to see it take off.
“That area is not being protected, the bridge was out, the trails are in poor shape, and we had always looked to the success story of Roughlock Falls, which at one point was in the same type of disrepair. We would refer to it as having been loved to death,” says Johnson.
Johnson adds that the proposed park would not include any fee gates in the canyon. She says Spearfish Canyon road would remain untouched.
“The bottom line here is, the state park taking over pieces of this property will only make the canyon more beautiful and we will be secured into the future the protection of this national scenic byway,” says Johnson.
If approved by Congress, the new state park will cover 1400 acres in Spearfish Canyon.