PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Folks who appreciate the outdoors and public land could soon have several more places to enjoy in South Dakota.
The state Game, Fish and Parks Department plans to add parcels in Day County and Stanley County that will be open to public use.
The department is buying 320 acres in the Bitter Lake area of Day County that had belonged to William B. and Florence Davis, who have passed away.
The six Davis children offered to sell the parcel, which includes 298 acres of water and a 22-acre island. GFP has agreed to pay $75 per acre for a total $24,000. That’s one-tenth of the appraised price.
The Davis property will connect two of GFP’s game-production areas. There are several spots where waterfowl hunters can put boats in.
Pheasants Forever also is arranging to donate 560 acres in the Frozen Man Creek area of western Stanley County to GFP with the understanding that the land will remain wildlife habitat.
The non-profit raised funds to purchase the Frozen Man Creek parcel in December 2022. GFP had been leasing it as a walk-in area for more than 20 years.
Ryan Wendinger, who is GFP’s new habitat program administrator, briefed Game, Fish and Parks Commission members at their meeting last week.
He plans to present both acquisitions for the commission’s approval at the June 8-9 meeting at Sioux Falls.
Wendinger said a dedication ceremony for naming the Frozen Man Creek property in honor of the late John Stengle of Pierre is in discussion.
“A potentially good gift for the citizens of South Dakota,” chair Stephanie Rissler of Vermillion said about the Pheasants Forever donation.
GFP will pay property taxes on both new holdings.
Commissioner Robert Whitmyre of Webster said there are farmers in the northeast who continue to have to work around basins that remain flooded from a decade ago.
“It’s a tough situation that’s going on up there. Quite often folks just have to throw in the towel,” Whitmyre said.