Increase in visitation at Custer State Park

Published: Dec. 15, 2020 at 5:37 PM CST
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CUSTER, S.D. (KOTA) - The great outdoors has been a popular refuge for people to turn to since the pandemic began. So how has that impacted state parks?

In a typical year at Custer State Park, they see about one point eight million visitors, but they’ve already seen almost two point one million visitors through November of this year alone.

They’ve also seen about a 15% increase in camping numbers from last year.

One possible reason behind the increase in visitation is that getting outside is an easy way to social distance.

“You know, our park was open. We kind of ran things as status quo in the summertime. You know you look at a lot of the surrounding states. Some of the recreation areas weren’t open, or they were closed down. Whereas we were open, allowing people for camping and allowing people to come outdoors and use our trails and recreate,” says the visitor services program manager at Custer State Park, Kobee Stalder.

Visitors are still coming to explore Custer State Park, and Stalder says it’s not just locals; it’s also people from out of state.

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