Cemetery ownership in community's hands - KOTA Territory News

Cemetery ownership in community's hands

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Congress passed a bill transferring the ownership of nine historical cemeteries in western South Dakota from the U.S. Forest Services to local communities. The bill is awaiting presidential approval after passing the Senate on Wednesday.

Senator John Thune says the communities have already managed the cemeteries for generations and it is an unnecessary liability for the government.

Rockerville business owner and cemetery caretaker Bill Baker sees the changes of the ownership firsthand. The cemetery is behind Baker's property and is only accessible by a road through his lumber yard. 

"I kind of like the fact that we'll be able to get permanent access to the cemetery," Baker said. "The only down side is we probably have a little more responsibility as far as keeping up with the property and the road to the cemetery and so forth. But all in all, I think it will be a good thing."

In addition to Rockerville, the legislation changes the ownership of cemeteries in Englewood, Galena, Hayward, Mountain Meadows, Roubaix, Nemo, Silver City and Cold Springs.

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