Listing of South Dakota Recreational Facilities
State of South Dakota
South Dakota is a U.S. state in the Midwestern region of the United States. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux Native American tribes, who compose a large portion of the population and historically dominated the territory. South Dakota is the seventeenth largest by area, but the fifth smallest by population and the 5th least densely populated of the 50 United States. As the southern part of the former Dakota Territory, South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889, simultaneously with North Dakota. Pierre is the state capital and Sioux Falls, with a population of about 187,200, is South Dakota's largest city.
Eastern South Dakota is home to most of the state's population, and the area's fertile soil is used to grow a variety of crops. West of the Missouri, ranching is the predominant agricultural activity, and the economy is more dependent on tourism and defense spending. Most of the Native American reservations are in West River. The Black Hills, a group of low pine-covered mountains sacred to the Sioux, are in the southwest part of the state. Mount Rushmore, a major tourist destination, is there. South Dakota has a temperate continental climate, with four distinct seasons and precipitation ranging from moderate in the east to semi-arid in the west. The state's ecology features species typical of a North American grassland biome.
Humans have inhabited the area for several millennia, with the Sioux becoming dominant by the early 19th century. In the late 19th century, European-American settlement intensified after a gold rush in the Black Hills and the construction of railroads from the east. Encroaching miners and settlers triggered a number of Indian wars, ending with the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890. Key events in the 20th century included the Dust Bowl and Great Depression, increased federal spending during the 1940s and 1950s for agriculture and defense, and an industrialization of agriculture that has reduced family farming.
While several Democratic senators have represented South Dakota for multiple terms at the federal level, the state government is largely controlled by the Republican Party, whose nominees have carried South Dakota in each of the last 13 presidential elections. Historically dominated by an agricultural economy and a rural lifestyle, South Dakota has recently sought to diversify its economy in areas to attract and retain residents. South Dakota's history and rural character still strongly influence the state's culture.
South Dakota can generally be divided into three regions: eastern South Dakota, western South Dakota, and the Black Hills. The Missouri River serves as a boundary in terms of geographic, social, and political differences between eastern and western South Dakota. The geography of the Black Hills, long considered sacred by Native Americans, differs from its surroundings to such an extent it can be considered separate from the rest of western South Dakota. At times the Black Hills are combined with the rest of western South Dakota, and people often refer to the resulting two regions divided by the Missouri River as West River and East River.
The Black Hills are in the southwestern part of South Dakota and extend into Wyoming. This range of low mountains covers 6,000 sq mi (16,000 km2), with peaks that rise from 2,000 to 4,000 feet (600 to 1,200 m) above their bases. The Black Hills are the location of Black Elk Peak (7,242 ft or 2,207 m above sea level), the highest point in South Dakota and also the highest point in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. Two billion-year-old Precambrian formations, the oldest rocks in the state, form the central core of the Black Hills. Formations from the Paleozoic Era form the outer ring of the Black Hills; these were created between roughly 540 and 250 million years ago. This area features rocks such as limestone, which were deposited here when the area formed the shoreline of an ancient inland sea.
Much of South Dakota (except for the Black Hills area) is dominated by a temperate grasslands biome. Although grasses and crops cover most of this region, deciduous trees such as cottonwoods, elms, and willows are common near rivers and in shelter belts. Mammals in this area include bison, deer, pronghorn, coyotes, and prairie dogs. The state bird, the ring-necked pheasant, has adapted well to the area after being introduced from China. Growing populations of bald eagles are spread throughout the state, especially near the Missouri River. Rivers and lakes of the grasslands support populations of walleye, carp, pike, bass, and other species. The Missouri River also contains the pre-historic paddlefish.
Due to a higher elevation and level of precipitation, the Black Hills ecology differs significantly from the plains. The mountains are thickly blanketed by various types of pines, including ponderosa and lodgepole pines, as well as spruces. Black Hills mammals include deer, elk (wapiti), bighorn sheep, mountain goats, pine marten, and mountain lions, while the streams and lakes contain several species of trout.
South Dakota has a continental climate with four distinct seasons, ranging from cold, dry winters to hot and semi-humid summers. During the summers, the state's average high temperature is often close to 90 °F (32 °C), although it cools to near 60 °F (16 °C) at night. It is not unusual for South Dakota to have severe hot, dry spells in the summer with the temperature climbing above 100 °F (38 °C) several times a year. Winters are cold with January high temperatures averaging below freezing and low temperatures averaging below 10 °F (−12 °C) in most of the state. The highest recorded temperature is 120 °F (49 °C) at Usta on July 15, 2006 and the lowest recorded temperature is −58 °F (−50 °C) at McIntosh on February 17, 1936.
South Dakota has several sites administered by the National Park Service. Two national parks have been established in South Dakota, both in the state's southwestern part. Wind Cave National Park, established in 1903 in the Black Hills, has an extensive cave network as well as a large herd of bison. Badlands National Park was created in 1978. The park features an eroded, brightly colored landscape surrounded by semi-arid grasslands. Mount Rushmore National Memorial in the Black Hills was established in 1925. The sculpture of four U.S. Presidents was carved into the mountainside by sculptor Gutzon Borglum.
Other areas managed by the National Park Service include Jewel Cave National Monument near Custer, the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, which features a decommissioned nuclear missile silo and a separate missile control area several miles away, and the Missouri National Recreational River. The Crazy Horse Memorial is a large mountainside sculpture near Mt. Rushmore being built with private funds. The Mammoth Site near Hot Springs is another privately owned attraction in the Black Hills. A working paleontological dig, the site has one of the world's largest concentrations of mammoth remains.
On December 29, 1890, the Wounded Knee Massacre occurred on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Commonly cited as the last major armed conflict between the United States and the Lakota Sioux Nation, the massacre resulted in the deaths of at least 146 Sioux, many of them women and children. 31 U.S. soldiers were also killed in the conflict.
During the 1930s, several economic and climatic conditions combined with disastrous results for South Dakota. A lack of rainfall, extremely high temperatures and inappropriate cultivation techniques produced what was known as the Dust Bowlin South Dakota and several other plains states. Fertile topsoil was blown away in massive dust storms, and several harvests were completely ruined. The experiences of the Dust Bowl, coupled with local bank foreclosures and the general economic effects of the Great Depression, resulted in many South Dakotans leaving the state. The population of South Dakota declined by more than 7% between 1930 and 1940.
Economic stability returned with the U.S. entry into World War II in 1941, when demand for the state's agricultural and industrial products grew as the nation mobilized for war. In 1944, the Pick–Sloan Plan was passed as part of the Flood Control Act of 1944 by the U.S. Congress, resulting in the construction of six large dams on the Missouri River, four of which are at least partially in South Dakota. Flood control, hydroelectricity, and recreational opportunities such as boating and fishing are provided by the dams and their reservoirs.
In recent decades, South Dakota has been transformed from a state dominated by agriculture to one with a more diversified economy. The tourism industry has grown considerably since the completion of the interstate system in the 1960s, with the Black Hills becoming more important as a destination. The financial service industry began to grow in the state as well, with Citibank moving its credit card operations from New York to Sioux Falls in 1981, a move that has been followed by several other financial companies. South Dakota was the first state to eliminate caps on interest rates.
In 2007, the site of the recently closed Homestake gold mine near Lead was chosen as the location of a new underground research facility, the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory. Despite a growing state population and recent economic development, many rural areas have been struggling over the past 50 years with locally declining populations and the emigration of educated young adults to larger South Dakota cities, such as Rapid City or Sioux Falls, or to other states. Mechanization and consolidation of agriculture has contributed greatly to the declining number of smaller family farms and the resulting economic and demographic challenges facing rural towns.
As of 2011, 25.4% of South Dakota's population younger than age 1 were minorities, meaning they had at least one parent who was not non-Hispanic white.
As of 2000, the five largest ancestry groups in South Dakota are German (40.7%), Norwegian (15.3%), Irish (10.4%), Native American (8.3%), and English (7.1%).
German Americans are the largest ancestry group in most parts of the state, especially in East River (east of the Missouri River), although there are also large Scandinavian-descended populations in some counties. South Dakota has the nation's largest population of Hutterites, a communal Anabaptist group which emigrated in 1874 from Europe, primarily from German-speaking areas.
American Indians, largely Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota (Sioux), are predominant in several counties and comprise 20 per cent of the population in West River. The seven large Indian reservations in the state occupy an area much diminished from their former Great Sioux Reservation of West River, which the US government had once allocated to the Sioux tribes. South Dakota has the third-highest proportion of Native Americans of any state, behind Alaska and New Mexico.
Five of the state's counties are wholly within the boundaries of sovereign Indian reservations. Because of the limitations of climate and land, and isolation from urban areas with more employment opportunities, living standards on many South Dakota reservations are often far below the national average; Ziebach County ranked as the poorest county in the nation in 2009. The unemployment rate in Fort Thompson, on the Crow Creek Reservation, is 70%, and 21% of households lack plumbing or basic kitchen appliances. A 1995 study by the U.S. Census Bureau found 58% of homes on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation did not have a telephone. The reservations' isolation also inhibits their ability to generate revenue from gaming casinos, an avenue that has proved profitable for many tribes closer to urban centers.
The service industry is the largest economic contributor in South Dakota. This sector includes the retail, finance, and health care industries. Citibank, which was the largest bank holding company in the United States at one time, established national banking operations in South Dakota in 1981 to take advantage of favorable banking regulations. Government spending is another important segment of the state's economy, providing over ten percent of the gross state product. Ellsworth Air Force Base, near Rapid City, is the second-largest single employer in the state.
Another important sector in South Dakota's economy is tourism. Many travel to view the attractions of the state, particularly those in the Black Hills region, such as historic Deadwood, Mount Rushmore, and the nearby state and national parks. One of the largest tourist events in the state is the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The five-day event drew over 739,000 attendees in 2015; significant considering the state has a total population of 850,000. In 2006, tourism provided an estimated 33,000 jobs in the state and contributed over two billion dollars to the economy of South
As of 2005, South Dakota has the lowest per capita total state tax rate in the United States The state does not levy personal or corporate income taxes, inheritance taxes, or taxes on intangible personal property. The state sales tax rate is 4.5 percent. Various localities have local levies so in some areas the rate is 6 percent. The state sales tax does not apply to sales to Indians on Indian reservations, but many reservations have a compact with the state. Businesses on the reservation collect the tax and the state refunds to the Indian Tribes the percentage of sales tax collections relating to the ratio of Indian population to total population in the county or area affected. Ad valorem property taxes are local taxes and are a large source of funding for school systems, counties, municipalities and other local government units. The South Dakota Special Tax Division regulates some taxes including cigarette and alcohol-related taxes.
South Dakota's culture reflects the state's American Indian, rural, Western, and European roots. A number of annual events celebrating the state's ethnic and historical heritage take place around the state, such as Days of '76 in Deadwood, Czech Days in Tabor, and the annual St. Patrick's Day and Cinco de Mayo festivities in Sioux Falls. The various tribes hold many annual pow wows at their reservations throughout the state, to which non-Native Americans are sometimes invited. Custer State Park holds an annual Buffalo Roundup, in which volunteers on horseback gather the park's herd of around 1,500 bison.
Black Elk (Lakota) was a medicine man and heyokha, whose life spanned the transition to reservations. His accounts of the 19th-century Indian Wars and Ghost Dance movement, and his deep thoughts on personal visions and Native American religion, form the basis of the book Black Elk Speaks, first published in 1932. (Among several editions, a premier annotated edition was published in 2008.) Paul Goble, an award-winning children's book author and illustrator, has been based in the Black Hills since 1977.
Laura Ingalls Wilder, whose semi-autobiographical books are based on her experiences as a child and young adult on the frontier, is one of South Dakota's best-known writers. She drew from her life growing up on a homestead near De Smet as the basis for five of her novels: By the Shores of Silver Lake, The Long Winter, Little Town on the Prairie, These Happy Golden Years, and The First Four Years. These gained renewed popularity in the United States when Little House on the Prairie was adapted and produced as a television series in 1974. Wilder's daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, who became a well-known writer in her own right, was born near De Smet in 1886.
South Dakota has also produced several notable artists. Harvey Dunn grew up on a homestead near Manchester in the late 19th century. While Dunn worked most of his career as a commercial illustrator, his most famous works showed various scenes of frontier life; he completed these near the end of his career. Oscar Howe(Crow) was born on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation and won fame for his watercolor paintings. Howe was one of the first Native American painters to adopt techniques and style heavily influenced by the mid-20th century abstraction movement, rather than relying on traditional Native American styles. Terry Redlin, originally from Watertown, is an accomplished painter of rural and wildlife scenes. Many of his works are on display at the Redlin Art Center in Watertown.
The South Dakota Board of Regents, whose members are appointed by the governor, controls the six public universities in the state. South Dakota State University (SDSU), in Brookings, is the state's largest university, with an enrollment of 12,831. The University of South Dakota (USD), in Vermillion, is the state's oldest university, and has South Dakota's only law school and medical school. South Dakota also has several private universities, the largest of which is Augustana College in Sioux Falls.
Fishing and hunting are popular outdoor activities in South Dakota. Fishing contributes over $224 million to South Dakota's economy, and hunting contributes over $303 million. In 2007, over 275,000 hunting licenses and 175,000 fishing licenses were sold in the state; around half of the hunting licenses and over two-thirds of the fishing licenses were purchased by South Dakotans. Popular species of game include pheasants, white-tailed deer, mule deer, and turkeys, as well as waterfowl such as Canada geese, snow geese, and mallards. Targets of anglers include walleye in the eastern glacial lakes and Missouri River reservoirs, Chinook salmon in Lake Oahe, and trout in the Black Hills.
Other sports, such as cycling and running, are also popular in the state. In 1991, the state opened the George S. Mickelson Trail, a 109-mile (175 km) rail trail in the Black Hills. Besides being used by cyclists, the trail is also the site of a portion of the annual Mount Rushmore marathon; the marathon's entire course is at an elevation of over 4,000 feet (1,200 m). Other events in the state include the Tour de Kota, a 478-mile (769 km), six-day cycling event that covers much of eastern and central South Dakota, and the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which draws hundreds of thousands of participants from around the United States.
Other Sites of Interest
San Marcos Memories—disappearing North County San Diego, Ca
Lake San Marcos—Listing of Vendors and Other Items of Interest to LSM residents
Silly Service—38 years of Federal Civil Service Overview (A book in progress)