Mary Arline (queen_of_kithia) wrote,
Mary Arline

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"Explore historical artifacts from South Dakota's National Parks"

Thus my Google homepage greeted me this morning, and I was delighted to comply. Is everyone seeing the same invitation this morning, or is it just because I live in South Dakota?

So nice to see South Dakota represented by a group that bothered to do their research, unlike the recent Cenex commercial that referred to us as "Big Sky Country" even though "Big Sky Country" is a very well-known nickname for Montana.

I notice that all of South Dakota's National Parks are located West River. This seems imbalanced, perhaps, until you realize that East River has many, MANY more state parks. Within a 40-mile radius of my house, there are no less than five state parks/outdoor recreation areas. The state park system is a treasure trove that I never fully appreciated until recently. An annual admission pass to the state parks is $30 for the whole year[*](For those just passing through, they also have day passes for $4 per person or $6 per vehicle) For $2.50 per month, you can enjoy all the hiking, biking, picnicking, canoeing, archery, horseshoe throwing, and frisbee golf you want. You can go horseback riding, but you have to bring your own horses. If you want to go snowshoeing, they'll even lend you snowshoes during the winter months. Most of the state parks also have campgrounds. There's an extra fee for camping, but it won't cost more than $50 per night and, if you're prepared to rough it, it could cost as little as $20 per night.

I grew up West River and I really love it, but one thing I've noticed since living East River is that West River South Dakota tends to be so tourist-oriented. It's not that locals are discouraged from participating in the recreation--they'll accept anyone's money, but they're really bucking for the tourist dollar. By contrast, East River recreation is for everyone. This is especially evident in Sioux Falls, where the activities planned by the city are really planned specifically for the benefit and enjoyment of the locals--although, again, everyone is welcome to participate.

The thought occurs to me, however, that I've lived East River so long that I'm technically a tourist when visiting West River. So I guess in that case I get the best of both worlds.
Tags: black hills, miscellaneous, sioux falls
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