Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

GF&P budget proposal includes $7M in general funds


The South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks Department is proposing a budget of just over $126 million for fiscal year 2025.

About $7 million would come from the state general funds and $33.5 million would come from federal funds, according to data shared at a Join Committee on Appropriations hearing. The rest would be paid for through hunting and fishing licenses, state park passes, and other GF&P programs.

Secretary Kevin Robling told the committee the department has shifted their financial priority from projects to staff — decreasing their capital project budget.

Republican Rep. Chris Karr questioned how the department planned to pay for employee increases while decreasing their budget.

“I would like to understand, what you did the last two years and where you pulled these dollars, because the governor comes in and recommends x amount of percent, we go above and beyond that, so six or seven percent. In order for you guys to do that for your employees, you need to take from your other funds or capital projects," said Karr. "So I would like to see what those numbers are, and where you took those from.”

Robling answered by stressing the importance of raising money throughout the year to cover GF&P’s expenses.

“How we increase our revenues, we get more people into our parks. We continue to sell more camping spots, more camping cabins, or shoulder season use, we sell more hunting and fishing licenses, that’s how we grow. We try to divvy things out accordingly, and we've got to make sure we have the staff to operate these facilities. And that is the first answer for sure. And that is why we are reducing our capital development budget by $2 million,” said Robling.

Robling said fundraising efforts for GF&P’s two major projects, including a South Dakota Shooting sports complex planned for West River, are still underway.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated that GF&P was seeking $126 million in funds. That amount is its total proposed budget; it is seeking about $7 million from the state.

Evan Walton is an SDPB reporter based in Sioux Falls. Evan holds a Master’s in English Literature from Southern New Hampshire University and was honorably discharged from the United States Army in 2015, where he served for five years as an infantryman.