Parts of Spearfish Canyon could become a state park

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SPEARFISH, S.D. ( KOTA TV ) - There are still many steps ahead in making part of Spearfish Canyon a state park.

South Dakota Game Fish and Parks is soliciting proposals from consultants to assist the department with a master plan proposal.

Through this effort, it's hoped the public will become interested in the project and give input.

Senator John Thune recently introduced legislation that would exchange federal land for state owned parcels in and around Spearfish Canyon.

Some area business owners feel there would be some real benefits to having a state park.

"i think if it were to restrict traffic here to the canyon, i don't think that would be very positive," Geof Ziebart said. "I wouldn't want people to pay to see the canyon as it is such a national treasure. I do think an area that can be put into the area as a state park, with an entrance fee would help maintain the areas in the upper part of the canyon by Roughlock Falls and Spearfish Canyon Lodge."

If everything falls into place, the next opportunity to designate a state park would be at the next state legislative session.

"It kind of starts at the savoy area and goes up Little Spearfish Creek and Little Spearfish Canyon," Al Nedved said. "Approximately to the extent of the Little Canyon trail head, five miles up Forest Road 222."

The master plan task force wants public opinion on the idea including thoughts on park entry fees.