- Associated Press - Saturday, June 7, 2014

YANKTON, S.D. (AP) - State parks officials have a plan that could make Spearfish Canyon home to the next state park in South Dakota.

Game, Fish and Parks Department officials went over the plan Friday at the agency’s regular meeting in Yankton.

Parks officials said the Homestake Mining Co. is considering selling two large parcels of land in Spearfish Canyon that would in turn be given to the public and connected to land the state already owns. Altogether the land could form a large state park.

The Spearfish Canyon Foundation would purchase a 73-acre tract, which includes Spearfish Falls, and donate it to the state, according to the American News in Aberdeen.

The stretch of the canyon covers more than a mile and would connect two tracts purchased in 2004 by the state.

The property was appraised at about $1.2 million, but Foundation officials are trying to bring that down,” Doug Hofer, director for the state Division of Parks and Recreation, told the Rapid City Journal.

Hofer said the combined areas total 128 acres surrounded by U.S. Forest Service lands.

Under the proposed plan, the Game, Fish and Parks Department would also buy 33 acres directly from Homestake.

Hofer told the American News he has his sights set on getting a park up and running.

“Your thoughts begin to wonder what this could be,” he said.

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