- Associated Press - Saturday, June 10, 2017

STURGIS, S.D. (AP) - Gov. Dennis Daugaard says he’s open to the idea of creating a state-managed recreation area out of four small reservoirs tucked into a steep and forested canyon a few miles south of Sturgis.

The reservoirs have been a topic in Sturgis for several years, including last year when the City Council and mayor adopted a resolution saying the best use of the reservoirs would be as a state park.

Daugaard visited the area Tuesday, and said the lack of a public road into the reservoirs and the site’s rugged terrain might preclude the heightened level of development for camping and picnicking that typically comes with a state park, the Rapid City Journal reported (https://bit.ly/2rEKEGc ).

However, Daugaard said a less-developed recreation area for day-use activities could be a possibility.

The governor said the recent failure of his proposal for a state park in Spearfish Canyon would not dissuade him from pursuing state involvement in the Sturgis site, if he becomes convinced that state involvement is appropriate.

“In this case, people have not had access, and so to the extent that the community sees this as something that would gain them something they don’t have today, most of the public I would expect would want that,” Daugaard said. “In the case of Spearfish Canyon, I think the public felt, ‘We have access already, and we don’t see any benefit to a state park.’”

Regardless of whether the state becomes involved in managing the Sturgis reservoirs, the public will soon have access to them for the first time in decades, thanks to the construction of a non-motorized trail system.

Sturgis City Manager Daniel Ainslie said the City Council voted Monday to open the reservoirs to the public as soon as appropriate signs and fencing can be installed, possibly in a few weeks.

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Information from: Rapid City Journal, https://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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