Applications Now Being Taken For Wind Cave Elk Depredation

The National Park Service (NPS), working with South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP), is again seeking skilled volunteers to reduce its elk herd at Wind Cave National Park (Wind Cave) to help address the high rate of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in the park. A total of eight trained volunteers will be needed – four each week for the first two weeks in February.

Elk will be removed in order to maintain the population at the desired target inside the park. This action is consistent with the range of options presented in the Wind Cave Elk Management Plan/ Environmental Impact Statement signed in 2009.

Every animal taken during this operation will be tested for CWD. The NPS is partnering with GFP to distribute elk meat to Feeding South Dakota, an organization dedicated to eliminating hunger in the state. Also, volunteers who work an entire week on this operation will be eligible to receive a portion of elk meat. Only meat with a ‘not-detected’ test result for CWD will be distributed to volunteers or Feeding South Dakota.

Four different volunteers will be needed for this operation during each of the two weeks beginning February 3. Two teams will be formed, each consisting of an NPS team leader and two volunteers.

Anyone wishing to volunteer must submit an online application through their license profile at the GFP website, gfp.sd.gov. Volunteers will be selected through a lottery. Applications will be accepted from January 3, 2020, to January 10, 2020. Only online applications will be accepted, no paper applications will be allowed for this project. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age, a South Dakota resident, have no felony record and be willing to undergo a background check.

Volunteers who are selected will be contacted by NPS personnel. Volunteers will be required to demonstrate advanced firearms proficiency and physical fitness to participate. Each volunteer will be required to hit an 8-inch target at 200 yards a minimum of three times out of five shots using their own firearm and non-lead ammunition. During the week, volunteers will also be required to hike up to 10 miles per day over rough terrain and carry packs weighing up to 70 pounds in winter weather conditions.

For more information visit nps.gov/wica/learn/nature/elk.htm or email tom_farrell@nps.gov

New Executive Director Takes Reins For Parks & Wildlife Foundation

PIERRE — The South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) is pleased to announce Lisa Weyer as the new Executive Director of the Parks and Wildlife Foundation and the Second Century Habitat Fund.

Weyer joined the GFP team in early November. GFP employs the Executive Director to provide administrative services and oversight of the Foundation. Weyer holds a Business Administration degree from Black Hills State University and has held leadership positions in many governmental and non-profit organizations. Some of her work experience includes serving as the Director of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, the Executive Director of the Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Director of the Motor Vehicle Division for the South Dakota Department of Revenue.

The Parks and Wildlife Foundation is a non-profit 501 (c)3 corporation, registered in South Dakota. It was incorporated in 1985 for the purpose of working with donors to develop and enhance parks and recreation activities in South Dakota.

The Foundation is a separate, non-governmental, non-profit organization working in partnership with South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks. The Foundation is governed by a board of directors, comprised of 17 members.

The South Dakota Second Century Habitat Fund, formerly the South Dakota Habitat Conservation Foundation, is a non-profit organization focused on conserving the land, enhancing wildlife populations, and getting the next generation involved in outdoor recreation while increasing support for habitat.

The history of the organization began in December 2013, when Governor Daugaard requested that a habitat summit take place to address public concerns over low numbers of the statewide pheasant population.

In 2019, Governor Noem took office with habitat conservation as one of her major initiatives. At this time, the South Dakota Habitat Conservation Foundation organization was reorganized and renamed to the South Dakota Second Century Habitat Fund.

Coming from a farming family, Weyer is invested in South Dakota’s outdoor legacy, both for recreation and as a way of life that drives our state’s economy.

Learn more online at habitat.sd.gov and parkswildlifefoundation.org. To make a donation to support habitat and outdoor recreational activities, contact Lisa directly at Lisa.Weyer@state.sd.us or 605.773.4503.

Prescribed Fire

Workshops Scheduled In January

LINCOLN, Neb. — A series of workshops across the state will provide information for completing safe and effective prescribed fires.

These workshops are for landowners, resource professionals, volunteer fire departments and others interested in burning. No experience is required.

Workshops, scheduled for 9 a.m.-4 p.m., will be held Jan. 15 at the Red Cloud Community Center, Jan. 16 at Lincoln’s Lancaster County University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, Jan. 17 at Thedford’s Upper Loup Natural Resources District (NRD), Jan. 21 at Scottsbluff’s North Platte NRD, and Jan. 23 at Norfolk’s Northeast Community College Lifelong Learning Center.

Visit NebraskaPF.com or call 308-850-8395 to register. A $10 fee includes training materials and lunch.

Neb. State Parks Offer Valentine’s Day Options

LINCOLN, Neb. — Couples and families can take advantage of several special Valentine’s Day offers, including reduced lodging, at Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area and Eugene T. Mahoney, Ponca and Platte River state parks.

Guests who reserve a cabin or lodge room at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park between Feb. 10 and 14 can add a Valentine’s Special package to their reservation. Cabins and lodge room rates from Feb. 9-13 are priced at a 30 percent discount.

The $25 Valentine Special includes a gift package in room consisting of a single stem rose, two wine glasses, sparkling juice, 2020 Nebraskaland Calendar, chocolates and more. The $55 Valentine Special includes all this plus a $30 gift card to Parker’s Smokehouse (for Feb. 10 or 11) or a $30 gift card to Caddy’s Parkside Grill (for Feb. 12-14).

The park also will offer fun activities on Feb. 14, including couples’ ice skating or rock climbing lessons. Pair it with dinner, dessert and dancing at the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum’s “Swing Under the Wings” event.

For a special getaway at Ponca State Park, make a reservation and celebrate Birds and Breakfast Feb. 14-15. Enjoy a 30 percent discount on lodging, Saturday breakfast, complimentary firewood, and the opportunity to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count. Book two nights and receive a free bottle of wine or sparkling juice. For reservations call the park at 402-755-2284.

Enjoy dinner and a 30 percent discount on cabin lodging on Valentine’s Day night at Platte River State Park. Treat your valentine to an exceptional meal in a peaceful setting for couples or families at the park’s scenic Walter Scott Jr. Lodge. Early reservations are recommended. Make your dinner and cabin reservations today by calling 402-234-2217.

Reserve a cabin at Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area from Feb. 14-16 for a 30 percent discount. Add the Silver Package to your stay for $25 and get complimentary champagne, wine or cider; sausage and cheese platter; bouquet of flowers; cheesecake dessert; drink tickets for CJs at the Lake, and more. For $55, add the Gold Package to your stay, which includes all items from the Silver Package plus a $30 supper voucher to CJs at the Lake. Reservations are limited; call 402-388-4169 to book today.

For more information, visit Calendar.OutdoorNebraska.gov or call individual parks. A park entry permit is required.

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