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GFP News - July 30, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, July 30, 2015
CONTACT:  Emily Kiel at

Gov. Daugaard Announces Grant Funding to Five Communities for Recreational Trails Upgrades            

PIERRE, S.D. - Gov. Dennis Daugaard recently awarded Recreational Trails Program (RTP) funding to several communities, state parks and the Black Hills National Forest totaling approximately $1.3 million.

“I am pleased to award these grants to project sponsors around the state who have demonstrated a commitment to improving our communities, parks and recreation areas,” said Gov. Daugaard. “Their efforts will benefit South Dakota’s future generations.”

The following communities were awarded grants for trail construction and upgrades: 

Additional grants were awarded for trail improvement projects at Angostura Recreation Area Trail, George S. Mickelson Trail, Black Hills Snowmobile Trail System, the Black Hills National Forest for three Motorized Trailheads and four Trailhead Kiosks and the Fall River Ranger District for the Railroad Buttes Trailhead.

The five person citizen RTP Advisory Council reviewed the applications and made the recommendations to Gov. Daugaard. The federal assistance program provides up to 80 percent reimbursement for trail-related development and maintenance projects.The RTP is funded by the Federal Highway Administration and administered by the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP). The funds come from the Federal Highway Trust Fund, and represent a portion of the motor fuel excise tax collected from non-highway recreational fuel use.

For more information on this program, contact Randy Kittleat 605.773.5490 or

No Elk Contingency Licenses for 2015

PIERRE, S.D. – Earlier this year, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission established a pool of antlerless elk licenses that would be issued only if the range conditions in the Black Hills dictated a need for them. At the upcoming August Commission meeting in Aberdeen, the Department of Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) will recommend that the Commission not authorize issuance of these licenses.

“One component of the elk management plan was the development of elk contingency licenses,” noted Tony Leif, director of the Division of Wildlife. “The intent of these licenses is to lower elk numbers when reduced habitat conditions such as those created by drought dictate a reduction.”

“After a discussion with the U.S. Forest Service late last week, we do not believe the need exists for issuance of the elk contingency licenses this year due to summer precipitation that has provided good forage conditions throughout the Black Hills,” concluded Leif.

For complete details on the 2015 elk hunting seasons, please visit or

Zebra Mussels Discovered on Boat at Rocky Point Recreation Area

PIERRE, S.D. – Earlier this month, a small number of young zebra mussels were found attached to a boat exiting Rocky Point Recreation Area at Belle Fourche Reservoir in western South Dakota. The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) immediately performed sampling at the reservoir. 

“Examination of the water samples determined no veligers were present nor were any juvenile or adult mussels found during the shoreline search,” stated Tony Leif, director of the Division of Wildlife. “Additionally, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) took water samples at the reservoir in June that were also determined to be free of veligers.”

These results indicate that Belle Fourche Reservoir was likely not the source of the mussels found on the boat. GFP fisheries biologists obtained water samples from 15 locations throughout the Belle Fourche Reservoir and searched approximately one mile of suitable shoreline habitat for adult zebra mussels. GFP and USBR continue to monitor the reservoir for zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species.

“This event highlights the need for all anglers and boaters to take responsibility and make sure their boats are free of aquatic invasive species. The primary way that many invasive species are spread to new lakes is by attaching to boats or trailers, so anglers and boaters are urged to inspect their boats before they leave a boat ramp and power wash their boat and trailer as often as possible,” concluded Leif.

Anglers and boaters are reminded to stay informed about the regulations regarding aquatic invasive species; which require all drain plugs to be removed from a boat during transport and prohibit the transportation of fish or bait in water from a lake, river or stream. Regular boat inspections, boat cleaning and compliance with these regulations will help to slow the spread of aquatic invasive species in South Dakota.

For more information on these regulations and how to help slow the spread of aquatic invasive species in South Dakota, visit

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