$2 Million Goal for State Park to Emphasize its American Indian Past


ArgusLeader.com reports that the South Dakota Parks and Wildlife Foundation has announced its goal to raise $2 million, starting in May, to fund the first phase of the Blood Run State Park plan. The hope is to fast-track the project through a public-private partnership.

Blood Run National Historic Landmark is a "rugged strip of wooded hills and prairie south of Sioux Falls along the Big Sioux River," ArgusLeader.com reports. South Dakota Parks and Wildlife Foundation want to develop this as a new state park, with an emphasis on its American Indian heritage.

Jeff Scherschligt, president of the Parks and Wildlife Foundation, told ArgustLeader.com that a public-private partnership is the ideal model for safeguarding the Blood Run National Historic Landmark.

By raising money independently, Scherschligt told ArgustLeader.com “we hope to accomplish it in five and get the economic benefits, the tourism, people visiting, the job."

Preserving Blood Run is not a new idea. In 1970, the National Park Service identified close to 3,000 acres along the Big Sioux in both South Dakota and Iowa as a National Historic Landmark. This is a crucially important archeological area in South Dakota and adjacent Iowaa. For roughly 450-years, between about 1300 and 1750, tribes such as the Omaha, Ioway, Ponca, Oto and what is now the Yankton Sioux Tribe, occupied this land, building burial mounds as well as leaving behind a bevy of artifacts, from jewelry and trade goods to pottery and tools. The site saw years of turmoil, with railroad construction, looting, and quarrying damaging the remains.

As Sioux Falls grew, with its residential development spreading, a partnership formed between the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, the federal government and the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks to purchase 200 acres of Blood Run in 1996. This was after the Iowa State Historical Society had bought 178 acres in Lyon County, which contained burial mounds, in 1988.

As more of the land was bought, and donors stepped in, the hope now is to secure as much as 2,000 of the approximately 3,000 acres identified as a National Historic Landmark to create a new state park.

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