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GFP News - january 29, 2015



New Operator Named for Lewis and Clark Marina

YANKTON, S.D. - The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission has selected a new operator for the Lewis and Clark Marina near Yankton.

Earlier this month the commission formally accepted the proposal received from Chris Donlin of Pickstown, S.D., for the purchase of the marina’s assets and approved a new ten-year concession lease.

"Chris has a strong history of customer service and management skills in a service-oriented boat business," said Jeff VanMeeteren, regional parks supervisor for GFP. "We're excited to have Chris bring his service experience to the marina operations and look forward to the planned facility improvements he has shared with us."

Donlin has owned and operated Donlin Marine in Pickstown for over 17 years, offering boat sales, service and rentals, as well as parts and boating merchandise.

The Game, Fish and Parks issued a prospectus seeking proposals for the management of the Lewis and Clark Marina earlier this fall. According to VanMeeteren, Donlin's was the only proposal received by the deadline and it met all prospectus requirements.

The Lewis and Clark Marina includes over 400 seasonal boat slips, a convenience store, service department and a full-service restaurant. Donlin has committed in the approved lease to all the required lease fees, annual expenditure requirements towards dock repairs and maintenance and multiple facility improvement projects, including a renovation to the gas sales dock by 2017. The lease also requires a detailed plan for operating the marina restaurant.

The lease will go into effect once the financing is final and the transfer of assets is complete, which is anticipated for early March. The timeline will allow for a new appraisal to be conducted, which is required by the lender.

Lewis and Clark Marina is located on just above Gavin's Point dam within Lewis and Clark Recreation Area approximately 5 miles west of Yankton off of Highway 50.

Lewis and Clark Marina

Photo: The Lewis and Clark Marina houses over 400 seasonal boat slips, as well as a convenience store, service department and a full-service restaurant. The Game, Fish and Parks Commission recently named Chris Donlin of Pickstown, SD, the new operator of the marina. He is expected to start in March.

Summer Camping Reservations Start Soon In State Parks

PIERRE, S.D. - Later this month, campers can begin making reservations for summer stays in the South Dakota State Parks.

Feb. 14 is the first day to make camping reservations for the weekend of May 15, the State Parks' Open House Weekend and traditional kick-off to the summer season.

Reservations for other summer dates will follow in succession, becoming available 90 days before arrival. Over 40 parks offer camping reservations on the 90-day schedule. The exception is world-famous Custer State Park, which offers reservations one year before arrival.

State Parks Director Doug Hofer encourages campers to keep an eye on the calendar and make reservations for camping trips as soon as possible.

"The state parks are known for being family and budget friendly," said Hofer. "Last year, more people camped in the parks than ever before. The earlier you can plan your stays, the better - especially if you're reserving several campsites or our very popular camping cabins."

Campsites become available at 7 a.m. Central Time on the first day of the 90-day window, but reservations for available campsites can be made until the day you arrive. The 90-day window calendar can be found online at

Reservations can be made 24 hours a day, both online at and by calling 1-800-710-2267. Taxes and reservation fees may apply.

Get information about South Dakota State Parks on Facebook and Twitter @SDGameFishParks.

Custer Hosts Snowshoe Hike for Valentine's Day

PIERRE, S.D. – Love is in the (cold) air this Valentine's Day at Custer State Park.

The park is hosting the Lover's Leap Snowshoe Hike Feb. 14, which will give participants the opportunity to take in the winter scenery and learn how to snowshoe. The three-mile guided hike will take snowshoers through a dense pine forest, meandering near Grace Coolidge Creek. It is considered moderate to strenuous. Participants should plan three hours for the hike.

Two hikes are being offered, departing the Peter Norbeck Visitor Center at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. MST. There is no fee for the hike; however a park entrance license is required and can be purchased the day of the hike.

Snowshoes and basic instruction are provided, but reservations are required by calling the Peter Norbeck Visitor Center at (605) 255-4464.



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