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Custer State Park

August 24, 2010

Did you know that Custer State Park, located in the Black Hills of South Dakota, is the second largest state park in America?  To save you looking it up, the largest is Adirondack Park located in northeast New York.

We were leaving Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse and stumbled upon it.  This is a brief history.

The park, dates back to 1897, eight years after South Dakota joined the Union. At this time, Congress granted sections sixteen and thirty-six of each South Dakota township to be used for schools and other public purposes. The parcels, scattered throughout the Black Hills timberland’s, were difficult to manage and in 1906, the state began negotiations to exchange the scattered parcels for a solid block of land. In 1910, South Dakota relinquished all rights to 60,000 acres of land within the Black Hills Forest Reserve in exchange for 50,000 acres in Custer County and 12,000 acres in Harding County. In 1912, these two parcels of land were designated as Custer State Forest, and later became Custer State Park.

The drive through the park is on a narrow two-lane paved road and there were several RV’s so the driving was slow.  That was fine because there was so much to see and so many animals that had we been alone on the road it would have been slow going anyway.

I was trying to get as close as possible to this grazing antelope but, as you can see, he didn’t want to give up his lunch however he watched me very intently.

On the other hand, these buffalo could care less.  They we’re just hanging out.  They’re signs all over the park warning you to keep your distance and I did. It is nice to see these historic animals that were once nearly wiped out growing in numbers again and healthy.

One Comment
  1. Thanks for sharing about Custer State Park…it is a beautiful place that South Dakota is proud to be the home of.

    Again, thanks for sharing, and we are glad you stumbled across Custer State Park.

    Safe travels,
    Katlyn Richter
    South Dakota Office of Tourism

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