Enjoy the outdoors for solitary exercise to protect your physical and mental health

The National Recreation and Park Association recently prepared a statement in support of the safe use of parks and open spaces during the COVID-19 outbreak. Many organizations across the nation have signed on to voice support.

We believe that many parks, trails and open spaces can continue to be used in a safe manner that allows people to enjoy the mental and physical health benefits these spaces provide. In all instances, we recommend people follow local, state and national ordinances and guidelines regarding the use of these spaces and recognize that these vary from community to community.


Read the full statement and pledge your organization’s support.

Call for Presentations for Annual Conference

We’re seeking proposals for presentations at the 2020 SDPRA annual conference that fulfill the educational needs of our diverse attendees. Proposals for relevant topics are being accepted through April 30. Session proposals that are relevant to a cross-section of members are more likely to be selected. The South Dakota Parks and Recreation Conference will be held October 13-15, 2020, in Yankton, SD. Learn more

Funding Available for Trails

South Dakota State Parks Director Scott Simpson announced today that applications are being accepted for grants from the Recreation Trails Program (RTP). The grants will be available for trail projects sponsored by municipalities, counties, state parks, federal land management agencies or tribal governments.

“When it comes to promoting healthy communities, recreational trails are key,” Simpson said. “As safe corridors for exercise and recreation, trails give families the opportunity to spend quality time together and enjoy the natural beauty of our state.”

The Recreational Trails Program provides partial reimbursement for approved trail projects. Eligible projects include construction of new public trails, rehabilitation of existing public trails, development of trail-related facilities and educational programs that relate to recreational trails.

The application deadline is Friday, April 17, 2020.

RTP funds come to the state through the Federal Highway Administration and are apportioned to states by Congress to fund both motorized and non-motorized public recreation trail projects. The amount of funds available is based upon the number of recreational vehicles licensed in each state. Application packets are available online at the Game, Fish and Parks website.

Outdoor Recreation Projects Funded

Gov. Kristi Noem has awarded a total of $764,430 in Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grants to several communities. The federal assistance program provides up to 50 percent reimbursement for outdoor recreation projects.

The following communities were awarded LWCF grants for outdoor recreation projects:

  • Aberdeen – Manor Park Pickleball Court Construction, $88,000
  • Britton – Baseball Complex Improvements, $100,000
  • Custer – Herbach Park Master Plan Improvements Phase I, $137,000
  • Emery – Pool Improvements project, $29,430
  • Ipswich – Recreation Complex project, $75,000
  • Menno – Pool Improvements project, $20,000
  • Mitchell – Dry Run Creek Skatepark Expansion, $53,000
  • Plankinton – Poolside Park Improvement project, $73,000
  • Wessington Springs – Pool renovation, $189,000

“I commend these project sponsors for their strong commitment to improve their communities and make South Dakota a better place to live, work and play,” Gov. Noem said. “Their efforts will benefit future generations of South Dakotans.”

Land and Water Conservation Funds come from the National Park Service and are administered in South Dakota by the state Department of Game, Fish and Parks.