Free Entrance, Free Fishing Mark S.D. State Parks’ Open House Weekend

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PIERRE, S.D. – The Department of Game, Fish and Parks is inviting outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy South Dakota state parks and recreation areas with the Parks’ Open House Weekend and Free Fishing Weekend Friday, May 16 through Sunday, May 18.

During the annual three-day event, entrance fees are waived for all visitors to South Dakota’s state parks and recreation areas. Camping fees still apply. In addition, parks with staffed entrance booths will be handing out free foot bags and sunscreen samples, while supplies last. The items are provided by the Department of Health to help encourage physical activity and reinforce the importance of wearing sunscreen while outdoors.

“This is the perfect opportunity to visit a state park you’ve never seen before, or camp at your favorite park,” said Doug Hofer, director of the division of parks and recreation. “It is our way of thanking everyone for their support of South Dakota’s state parks and inviting them out for another fun-filled camping season.”

Parks will be hosting a variety of Open House Weekend special events across the state. Several events will be held on Saturday and include the following:

  • 28th Annual Trail Tour 5K Run/Walk, Big Sioux Recreation Area near Brandon, 9 a.m.
  • Walk in the Park Talking in the Trees, Richmond Lake Recreation Area near Aberdeen, 10 a.m.
  • Annual Kids’ Fishing Tournament, Indian Creek Recreation Area near Mobridge, 3 p.m.
  • Disc Golf Tournament of Amateurs, Hartford Beach State Park near Milbank, 3 p.m.

In addition to the events held on Saturday, Palisades State Park will be hosting a Fabulous Fishing Frenzy at 9 a.m. on Sunday.

Custer State Park near Custer will also be hosting a number of family activities both Saturday and Sunday, including cookouts, nature hikes, free hayrack rides, a fishing derby, nature programs and demonstrations. On Sunday at 3 p.m., visitors can take part in the park’s infamous Buffalo Chip Flip contest. Open House Weekend also marks the start of the seasonal Volksmarch at Custer State Park. A full schedule of events can be found on the state park’s website.

The weekend also marks the first weekend that campsites can be reserved in South Dakota state parks this year, and officials say many campsites are currently available. Reservations can be made by calling 1-800-710-CAMP (2267) or online at www.CampSD.com.

South Dakota state parks offer a wide variety of outdoor fun, including camping, picnicking and boating. Many parks also offer trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding.

For information on fishing, fishing license and fishing regulations visit the GFP website at www.sdgfp.info. For more information on the South Dakota state park system, visit www.SDparks.info or call (605) 773-3391.

-GFP—