Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed legislation today that creates the first new state park in South Dakota since 1972.
Senate Bill 186 establishes the 615-acre Good Earth State Park at Blood Run, which is located just southeast of Sioux Falls in Lincoln County.
"This site is culturally significant, and it's extremely important to preserve it for future generations," the Governor said. "The residential area around Sioux Falls continues to expand, and setting aside this land as a state park will protect its natural beauty and provide an excellent educational opportunity about a site that was a peaceful Native American trading and ceremonial center for hundreds of years."
The National Park Service designated the Blood Run site in South Dakota and across the Big Sioux River in Iowa as a National Historic Landmark in 1970.
With matching funds from the Forward Sioux Falls Foundation, the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks purchased 205 acres of the site in 1995. The South Dakota Legislature approved the purchase of an additional 350 acres in 2011 through the use of donations, federal funds and dedicated money from the state Parks and Recreation Revolving Fund. Another 60 acres that linked the earlier purchases was made last year by the South Dakota Parks and Wildlife Foundation.
Gov. Daugaard said creation of the park would not have been possible without those partnerships and generous donors that include individuals, businesses, the City of Sioux Falls, Lincoln County Commission, Izaak Walton League, Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation and others. To date, more than $2.5 million has been raised to help buy the property, develop the park and interpret its rich history.
This year, the Governor offered and the Legislature approved a bill providing $2 million toward construction of Good Earth State Park at Blood Run.
The Parks and Wildlife Foundation is committed to raising $1 million more to help match future state and federal funding that will provide access to the park and build a world-class visitor center.
"This is a proud day for South Dakota," Gov. Daugaard added. "I fully expect Good Earth State Park at Blood Run to be very popular for not only the wonderful outdoor recreation it will provide but also its rich Native American history."
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.