GFP News - October 17, 2013

  • S.D. State Parks to Host Halloween Weekend Events
  • Division of Parks and Recreation Honors Employees

S.D. State Parks to Host Halloween Weekend Events

PIERRE, S.D. -- Campgrounds are open year-round and several parks will host trick-or-treaters at special events this Halloween season.

Make plans to attend a Halloween event:

  • Halloween Night Hike, Friday and Saturday, October 25-26, 5 - 8 p.m. MT at the Peter Norbeck Visitor Center. Participants take a guided one-mile night hike along a path lit only by jack-o-lanterns during this festive educational event. The event is geared to expose families to the interesting and humors sights, sounds, and night life of Custer State Park. Hikes take place every 15 minutes from 5:30 - 8 p.m. MT. Reservations are required. For more information or to make reservations call 605-255-4464.
  • Spooktacular Trick or Treat Trails, Saturday, Oct. 26, at Big Sioux Recreation Area near Brandon. Big Sioux's trails will provide tons of Halloween fun. Participants can follow reflective signs with their flashlights on a scavenger hunt and gather prizes and treats at stops along the trail. Hot chocolate, cider and coffee will be available at the park's picnic shelter. Bring a flashlight. The fun begins at 5 p.m. CT. For more information call 605-582-7243.
  • Forest Drive Night Hike, Saturday, Oct. 26, at Richmond Lake Recreation Area Fun for all ages can be had at this frightening event. Explore the trails in the dark as you participate in a scavenger hunt. Be careful as there may be spooks along the way. For more information call 605-626-3488.
  • Trick or Treat Trails, Sunday, Oct. 27, at LaFramboise Island Nature Area in Pierre. A trail marked by reflective signs will guide participants through the wooded nature area. Trick-or-treaters can gather prizes, informational material and treats by visiting event sponsors at stops along the trail. Bring a flashlight. The Halloween fun runs from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. CT. For more information call 605-773-2885.

There is no cost to participate in any of these events, although a park entrance license is required at Custer, Big Sioux and Richmond. Participants should wear comfortable hiking shoes and dress for the weather. Children must be accompanied by adults. Costumes are encouraged for the hikes but not required.

Reservations for campsites, camping cabins and group lodges can be made online at www.campsd.com or by calling 1.800.710.2267.

For more information on the state parks or to see a calendar of upcoming events, visit www.gfp.sd.gov or call 605-773-3391.

-GFP-

Division of Parks and Recreation Honors Employees

PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota Division of Parks and Recreation recently recognized several individuals for their dedication and hard work in the state parks system. The awards were made at the division's fall meeting in Pierre.

"This year's honorees were all very deserving,' said Doug Hofer, director of the Division of Parks and Recreation. "The dedication of those individuals can be seen in parks across the state and is enjoyed by the many visitors to South Dakota state parks and recreation areas each year."

Jim Jandreau of Sturgis received the 2013 South Dakota State Parks Distinguished Service Award. Each year, one GFP employee who embodies the mission of the state park system is selected for the honor. Jandreau has been employed at Bear Butte State Park for the last 15 years.

"Jim has worked closely with over twenty Native American Tribes with historical ties to Bear Butte," stated Hofer, "He's developed an atmosphere of trust and respect between park management and Tribal interests."

Sean Blanchette of Fort Pierre and Katie Ceroll of Roslyn received Awards of Appreciation.

Blanchette, concessionaire manager for the Division of Parks and Recreation, went above and beyond the last year when faced with several challenges on the job.

"Concessions and other contractual obligations are extremely important services provided by the Division of Parks and Recreation," said Al Nedved, state Parks and Recreation assistant director. "Sean was instrumental in restructuring several key concession contracts, and also spearheaded an Economic Impact Study that will determine the financial impacts of South Dakota's state parks."

Ceroll is the district park manager based out of Fort Sisseton Historic State Park. She manages Fort Sisseton and oversees operations at Roy Lake and Sica Hollow State Parks.

"Katie has a lot on her plate managing the events and happenings at Fort Sisseton," said Harley Noem, northeast regional supervisor for South Dakota Parks and Recreation. "She also took over as the district park manager recently and has done a phenomenal job with her added responsibility."

Black Hills Regional Supervisor Matt Snyder presented a teamwork award to staff from Angostura Recreation Area near Hot Springs in recognition of their hard work to develop the new Sheps Canyon Outdoor Recreation Complex.

"The staff at Angostura pulled together and did a great job getting the Sheps Canyon Recreation Area established," said Snyder. "From building the shop to planting trees and remodeling the lodge, this group has really done a great job making it all happen."

Members of the team include Willy Collignon, Steve Papendick, Jim Lindsay and Keith Maisel.

A second teamwork award was given to a group of individuals from across the state that helped organize and staff the dedication ceremony at Good Earth State Park at Blood Run near Sioux Falls.

Good Earth State Park at Blood Run is the newest state park. The park was dedicated July 19 with South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and nearly 400 others in attendance.

The innovative programming award was given to Jennifer Nuncio. Nuncio is a seasonal naturalist for the state park system and splits her time between Palisades State Park, Big Sioux Recreation Area and Lake Vermillion Recreation Area.

This past summer, Nuncio took on the challenge of coordinating programming for the newly created Good Earth State Park at Blood Run in addition to her duties at the other parks.

"Jen has done an amazing job coordinating and implementing the interpretive programs at Good Earth this summer," district park supervisor Eric VanderStouwe noted. "She provided exceptional and successful programs that fit very well with the mission and goal of South Dakota's newest state park."

The 2013 Seasonal Employee of the Year Award was given to Arlan Kuipers, who has been employed at Snake Creek Recreation Area near Platte for the past nine summers.

"Arlan is the epitome of what a seasonal employee can become," said District Park Supervisor Dave Enke. "He is loyal, dependable, honest, kind, compassionate, positive and willing to work with anyone."

Bob and Michele Ensz were named the South Dakota State Park Volunteers of the Year. The couple spends their summers in parks across eastern South Dakota putting on programs showcasing their six birds for fellow park guests.

"Bob and Michelle provide an outstanding bird program at a number of parks throughout the state," said Newton Hills District Park Supervisor Eric Vander Stouwe. "They are very valuable volunteers, and it holds true simply from the numbers of participants that attend every one of their programs. Their bird program averages over 100 people!"

The Enszes each put in 244 volunteer hours providing programming for South Dakota state parks.

-GFP-