Game, Fish And Parks Plans Adding To Three Tourist Sites
By Victoria Wicks
The Secretary of Game Fish and Parks is looking for state funding for three projects. Jeff Vonk appeared before to the Joint Appropriations Committee of the South Dakota legislature on Thursday, Jan. 10.
If the legislature approves a new designation, South Dakota will have a new state park for the first time since 1973. Jeff Vonk says Blood Run near Sioux Falls is an early civilization cultural site significant to American Indians.
He is asking for funding to build a visitor’s center and other amenities. Vonk also requests funding to expand the Mickelson Trail another 18 miles from Hill City to Mount Rushmore and to build a theater and visitors center at Custer State Park. The theater is planned for film and is not a part of the Black Hills Playhouse.
Vonk says he’s not looking to add to his agency’s baseline funding.
“We’re looking for four million dollars total of one time appropriation—four million—that would be used for those three projects,” he says.
Existing employees might be shuffled around, but Vonk says he doesn’t anticipate adding personnel.
Private donations are expected to augment the funding for some of the projects.
Vonk says appropriations are usually the last item settled in the session, so he’s not expecting his request to be answered until March.