Enjoy an Educational Walk in a South Dakota State Park

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Lake Poinsett Recreation Area.PIERRE, S.D. – Visitors to four South Dakota state parks will have the chance to learn about wildlife, birds, or the journey of Lewis and Clark while enjoying a walk in the park this month. June has been proclaimed Great Outdoors Month by Governor Rounds, and these free activities are a great way to enjoy the outdoors.

Make plans to attend the following walks:

  • “Bird Watching Basics” Walk in the Park, Saturday, June 14, 9 a.m. at Lake Poinsett Recreation Area. Ornithologist Casey Jensen from SDSU leads this educational hike about the birds of the park, why they live there, and what they look and sound like. A limited number of binoculars will be provided, so birders are encouraged to bring their own. Refreshments will be served following the walk. Participants are asked to meet at the Amphitheater.  Lake Poinsett Recreation Area is located 14 miles northeast of Arlington off US 81. Info: (605) 627-5441.
  • “Birds Paradise” Walk in the Park, Saturday, June 14, 9 a.m. at Big Sioux Recreation Area. During the 1.5 hour hike, walkers will learn bird facts while spotting and identifying feathered friends. Hikers are asked to bring their own binoculars and bird identification books, if possible, as the park has a limited number available. Participants are asked to meet at the picnic shelter.  Big Sioux Recreation Area is located 4 miles south of Brandon off I-90, Exit 406. Info: (605) 582-7243.
  • “Walk Through History” Walk in the Park, Friday, June 20, 7:30 p.m. at Lewis and Clark Recreation Area. Participants will learn about various events that happened during Lewis and Clark’s journey along the Missouri River. The 1.25-mile walk follows the Gavins Nature Trail. Hikers should meet at the trail. Lewis and Clark Recreation Area is located 6 miles west of Yankton off SD 52. Info: (605) 668-2985.
  • “Walk on the Wild Side” Walk in the Park, Saturday, June 21, 8:30 a.m. at West Whitlock Recreation Area. This one-hour walk explores the flora, fauna, scenery and wildlife of the park. Attendees will be walking on grass trails, so bug spray and appropriate attire is suggested. “Binoculars will be available for bird watching, and if hikers remain quiet, there’s a great chance we’ll encounter deer and other wildlife,” says Ryan Persoon, park manager. Participants for this walk should meet at the playground in the center of the park. West Whitlock Recreation Area is located 18 miles west Gettysburg off US 212. Info: (605) 765-9410.

There is no cost to participate in any of these programs; however, a park entrance license is required. These programs are held in addition to regular programming hosted by individual parks on summer weekends.

The Walk in the Park program is part of a series of educational, guided hikes held throughout the year in South Dakota state parks, recreation areas and nature preserves. Parks staff and volunteers lead the programs, which are co-sponsored by the S.D. Department of Health. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable walking shoes and to dress for the weather.

For more information on SD state parks and a calendar of upcoming events, visit www.SDparks.info or call (605) 773-3391.