State Parks

Photo © Sam Stukel

Big Stone Island Nature Area

/userdocs/Big Stone Island Nature Area

An 1823 expedition led by Major Stephan Long and geologist William Keating explored the Big Stone Lake region. Shortly after entering present-day South Dakota, they met an American Indian village on a rocky island (Big Island). This island is now the 100-acre nature area that is a natural refuge for a variety of wildlife, including songbirds, waterfowl and shore birds.

During the 1800s and early-1900s, resort hotels dotted the shore and excursion boats frequented the island's brothel. In an attempt to close the facility, irate women reportedly burned and sank a boat. In the 1940s, military aircraft practiced landing and take-off from a short runway on the island in preparation for war in the Pacific. Today, the area is accessible only by boat.

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  • Birdwatching
  • Boating
  • Canoeing/Kayaking
  • Historical interest
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  • Annual: Park Entrance License not required.
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Park Specs

Open: Open year-round. Accessible only by boat/canoe. No maintained trails or facilities.


4 miles north of Big Stone City on SD Highway 109 to rearing Ponds Access Area 

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Contact Info

Big Stone Island Nature Area
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  • Beach
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Park Rating

GPS Coordinates

Latitude: 45.34723
Longitude: -96.48795

GPS Coordinates
Latitude: 4520.679
Longitude: 9629.086
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