U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today introduced legislation cosponsored by Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) that would facilitate a federal-state land exchange that includes nearly 2,000 acres of federally owned land in the Spearfish Canyon and Bismarck Lake areas and nearly 2,000 acres of land in four separate state-owned parcels. U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives. The delegation introduced its respective bills in response to a request from Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R-S.D.).
“The state of South Dakota has proven time and again that it can preserve and protect South Dakota’s natural resources while providing unparalleled outdoor experiences that attract people from across the state and nation,” said Thune. “I’m confident this track record will lend itself to creating similar opportunities in the Spearfish Canyon and Bismarck Lake areas once this land exchange is completed.”
“Tourists come from all over the world to catch a glimpse of our unique landscape and natural resources,” said Rounds. “This exchange will allow the state to manage more land near two popular tourist sites in the Black Hills—Custer State Park and Roughlock Falls, located near the Spearfish Canyon Lodge. I thank Sen. Thune and Rep. Noem for their work on this legislation, and I look forward to continuing to work with them and the state of South Dakota to see this transfer through.”
“Like so many families in South Dakota and across the nation, ours is enamored with Spearfish Canyon,” said Noem. “In the busy chaos of life, you can find peace and serenity there that is unmatched. South Dakota has shown over and over again that we can provide access to sites like this while preserving them for our children and grandchildren to enjoy as well. I’m proud to work with Senators Thune and Rounds to bring this state treasure under local control.”
The land exchange would include 1,468 federally owned acres in the Spearfish Canyon area and 524 federally owned acres in the Bismarck Lake area, which includes Camp Bob Marshall, land leased by the U.S. Forest Service to the Western Dakota 4-H Camp Association for youth camps. The state-owned portion of the exchange includes approximately 1,954 acres of land in separate parcels.Click here for text of the Senate version and here for text of the House version.