Gov. Dennis Daugaard announced today that he will not continue the Department of Game, Fish and Parks' (GFP) two-year moratorium on land acquisitions. Under the moratorium, which the Governor imposed when he took office in 2011, GFP's Wildlife Division had not expanded its overall land holdings.
With the moratorium ending, GFP will be able to acquire land for use by all South Dakotans. The Governor and GFP officials have added new processes for local notice and consultation for all future land acquisition.
"I believe the state should be prudent about land acquisition," Gov. Daugaard said. "I want to consider local preferences and priorities as we make sure that all South Dakotans have great hunting and outdoor opportunities now and in the future."
GFP's Wildlife Division currently owns less than 0.6 percent of the land in South Dakota, which is managed for wildlife habitat, hunting and other recreational opportunities. Under the revised policy, county commissioners will receive advance notice on all potential acquisitions of 80 acres or more in their counties, as well as the opportunity to comment or meet with GFP staff.
Individuals interested in a proposed acquisition will have an additional 30 days to provide information, and all comments will be considered prior to any action by the GFP Commission.
GFP will continue to pay property taxes on all acquired lands and will only purchase from willing sellers.