July 18, 2013
Statement by Tom Duffus, Midwest Region Vice President, The Conservation Fund 

“The Conservation Fund is honored to assist the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks in the establishment of the nationally significant Good Earth State Park. The Fund protected and acquired 254 acres of high quality oak woodlands, savanna and native prairie along the Big Sioux River in 2011 for the creation of South Dakota’s first state park in more than 40 years. Today’s dedication ceremony marks a conservation milestone not only because the land is considered the most important Oneota cultural site in the Midwest, but also because it is the state’s first Forest Legacy project.”

“The Forest Legacy Program, administered by the USDA Forest Service and funded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), works with state agencies and local landowners to protect environmentally important forests that are threatened with conversion to non-forest uses. South Dakota competed nationally with 63 other projects and was one of 20 selected for 2013 Forest Legacy funding.  We thank U.S. Senators Tim Johnson and John Thune and U.S. Representative Kristi Noem for the Fiscal Year 2013 LWCF appropriations for Good Earth State Park, located within Blood Run National Historic Landmark. The Forest Legacy funding and additional funds provided by the South Dakota Parks and Wildlife Foundation will be used by the Department to acquire bottomland, Burr oak and floodplain forests from The Conservation Fund for the park later this year.”

“For centuries, the Southeast corner of South Dakota has been a significant hub for ancient as well as modern civilization. The Oneota and the Native Americans who came before them were drawn to this forested land along the Big Sioux River for its abundance of food and shelter resources, making it a vibrant place of trading and ceremonial activity. Very soon, residents of bustling Sioux Falls, the state and the nation will be able to visit the newly dedicated state park to learn about the rich history of the people and cultures it sustained and to experience and enjoy the natural landscapes.”

Additional Information
Places We Protect: South Dakota

About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we combine a passion for conservation with an entrepreneurial spirit to protect your favorite places before they become just a memory. A hallmark of our work is our deep, unwavering understanding that for conservation solutions to last, they need to make economic sense. Top-ranked, we have protected more than 7 million acres across America. -