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GFP News - June 26, 2017


state park visitors are advised to leave fireworks at home

Pierre, S.D. - The upcoming Fourth of July holiday is a popular time in South Dakota's state parks and recreation areas. The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) is asking state park visitors to leave fireworks at home.

"Parks are a Fourth of July destination," said state park director Katie Ceroll. "For many guests, the trip is a family tradition. High use of the campgrounds, beaches and day-use areas over the holiday weekend is a given."

Discharging fireworks is prohibited on all lands owned or leased by GFP. The ban includes state parks, recreation areas, lakeside use areas, game production areas and nature areas. Discharging fireworks is also illegal within the boundaries of the Black Hills Forest Fire Protection District, national forests and national parks in South Dakota.

Ceroll also wants to remind park users that a number of parks are under fire restrictions due to drought conditions. For burn ban information, visit the GFP website and click on the park name.

For more information on the South Dakota State Parks, visit or call 605.773.3391.


GFP Reminds boaters to practice safe boating

Pierre, S.D. - As the Fourth of July holiday approaches, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) is joining a national effort to highlight boating safety.

Operation Dry Water will take place June 30 - July 2, 2017, promoting boating safety and responsible use of alcohol while boating across the country.

"We want to ensure that recreational boaters, paddlers, kayakers and others have a safe place to enjoy South Dakota’s waters," said Joe Keeton, boating law administrator. "Alcohol impairs judgment and reaction time on the water just as it does when driving a car, even more so because with the added stressors of sun, heat, wind and noise on a boat. Choosing to consume alcohol while boating puts everyone at risk, including passengers and people in the water. Our goal is to remove anyone choosing to operate a vessel impaired and to keep everyone on the water safe."

Alcohol consumption and boating continues to be an issue and is listed as the leading known contributing factor in all fatal boating accidents nationwide. As part of the national event, GFP will conduct extra boating safety patrols statewide to promote safe and responsible boating practices heading into the holiday weekend.

Tips to staying safe on the water this summer:

Keeton noted that state regulations require all children under age seven to wear an approved personal flotation device anytime a boat is moving at greater than no-wake speed. He recommends taking the next step and keeping a personal flotation device on all occupants in the boat at all times.

"Before heading onto the water, check your equipment," Keeton said. "Fire extinguishers, life jackets, throwable flotation devices are required and must be in good working condition. The best way to prevent an unwanted tragedy on the water is to be prepared."

Visit or for more information about boating under the influence.

Boaters can view the 2017 South Dakota Boating Handbook online at or pick up a copy at any GFP office.


state parks to celebrate independence day

Pierre, S.D. - Celebrate the 4th of July early in South Dakota’s state parks. From parades to campsite decorating contests, state parks are ready to celebrate the holiday weekend with family fun for all ages.

Saturday, July 1

Sunday, July 2

All events are free, but a park entrance license is required.

For more information on activities in South Dakota State Parks, visit, contact the individual park office, or call 605.773.3391.


GFP Mission: The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks provides sustainable outdoor recreational opportunities through responsible management of our state’s parks, fisheries and wildlife by fostering partnerships, cultivating stewardship and safely connecting people with the outdoors.

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