S.D. GF&P Celebrates First Day Hikes

PIERRE — South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) encourages those with New Year’s resolutions on health and happiness to kick off 2019 with a First Day Hike at a state park. On January 1, all 50 states will be participating in the seventh annual national event that encourages everyone to celebrate the New Year with a guided outdoor exploration.

“We are excited to host First Day Hikes as part of this national effort to get people outdoors and into our parks,” said South Dakota state park director Katie Ceroll. “First Day Hikes are a great way to cure cabin fever and burn off those extra holiday calories by starting off the New Year with a walk or hike in one of our beautiful state parks.”

The sponsored hikes range from less than one mile journeys to longer, more intense workouts, depending on the state and terrain. South Dakota is offering seven hikes across the state.

• First Day 5K and Pet Stroll, Lewis and Clark Recreation Area near Yankton, 10 a.m. CST

• First Day Hike, Custer State Park near Custer, 10 a.m. MST

• First Day Hike, Oakwood Lakes State Park near Brookings, 1 p.m. CST

• First Day Snowshoe Hike, George S. Mickelson Trail, 1 p.m. MST. Pre-registration required: 605.384.3896

• First Hike, Good Earth State Park near Sioux Falls, 2 p.m. CST

• Winter Wonderland Nature Hike, Big Sioux Recreation Area near Brandon, 2 p.m. CST

• Winter Woods Walk, Newton Hills State Park near Canton, 2 p.m. CST

First Day Hikes originated more than 25 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation – a state park in Milton, Massachusetts. Last year, thousands of Americans participated in both traditional hikes and new experiences in many parks.

S.D. Fisheries Plan Available For Comment

PIERRE — South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) has prepared a draft Statewide Strategic Fisheries Plan for 2019 – 2023, which is available for public comment and review until Jan. 4, 2019.

The plan is a continuation of planning efforts that began in 2014 and will guide statewide fisheries activities through 2023.

The Statewide Plan is a component of the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Adaptive Management System and contains plans for seven statewide aquatic programs including surveys, research, fishing access, nongame fish, fish production, bait and private aquaculture, and fish health and contaminants. For each program, issues were identified and objectives and strategies were developed to address those management issues.

A summary of the 2014 – 2018 Fisheries plan objectives and progress toward those objectives are included in the plan appendices. Comments can be submitted online at https://gfp.sd.gov/forms/positions/ or mailed to 523 E. Capitol Ave Pierre, SD 57501.

The draft statewide plan and a one page summary of the plan can be viewed online at https://gfp.sd.gov/management-plans/ under “Plans Up for Revision.”

Request a hard copy by emailing WildInfo@state.sd.us or calling 605.223.7660.

Rainbow Trout Stocked In Three Eastern Neb. Lakes

LINCOLN, Neb. — Additional rainbow trout have been stocked by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission in three eastern Nebraska lakes to enhance winter fishing opportunities.

Standing Bear Lake in Omaha was stocked with 7,500 trout on Dec. 17. Holmes Lake in Lincoln and CenturyLink Lake at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park near Ashland were stocked with 3,000 and 3,500 trout, respectively, on Dec. 18.

Game and Parks considered the ice on all three lakes to be unsafe at the time of stocking. Game and Parks recommends the minimum ice thickness for supporting one person be at least 4 inches of clear, solid ice.

Visit OutdoorNebraska.org for more information about fishing or to buy 2019 permits.

Jan. 15 Workshop For Preschool Educators Will Link Science & Literature

LINCOLN, Neb. — Educators of preschool-aged children are invited to attend a free workshop in Norfolk on using literature books to teach science concepts.

The Birds and Books workshop, scheduled for Jan. 15 at the Elkhorn Valley Museum from 6-9 p.m., is specifically for formal and informal educators and day care providers of preschoolers.

This workshop uses birds as a lens of discovery. “Birds are easy to see and fun to watch, creating a fantastic opportunity to learn about science,” said workshop instructor Jamie Bachmann.

Workshop participants will investigate ways to use literature books to engage children in meaningful interdisciplinary lessons, connecting literature books with simple, long-term science investigations.

Educators will receive bird-related science-focused lessons, bird-related literature books, the Birds of Nebraska Field Guide and a bird feeder.

The workshop is put on by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and Northern Prairies Land Trust. For more information or to register, contact Bachmann at Jamie.bachmann@nebraska.gov.

CWD Detected For First Time In Valley, Keya Paha Counties

LINCOLN, Neb. — The presence of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer has been detected for the first time in central and north-central Nebraska counties of Valley and Keya Paha, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Game and Parks conducted CWD sampling operations at deer check stations in its northwest and north-central deer management units during the 2018 November firearm deer season.

Hunters are encouraged to access the positive results posted at OutdoorNebraska.gov/cwd/. Hunters whose deer tested positive will be contacted by Game and Parks.

There were 131 positives from 1,208 deer sampled in the Pine Ridge, Plains, Sandhills, Keya Paha, Calamus West and Loup West management units. Only mule deer were sampled in the Pine Ridge, Plains and Sandhills units, while only whitetails were sampled in the Keya Paha, Calamus West and Loup West units.

“The goal of this effort is to assess the spread and prevalence of the disease through periodic testing in each region of the state, which in turn helps biologists predict when and if future effects on deer numbers may occur,” said Todd Nordeen, Game and Parks’ big game research and disease program manager. Testing will take place in regional locations of the state in the next several years.

Although present in Colorado and Wyoming for several decades, CWD was first discovered in Nebraska in 2000 in Kimball County. Since 1997, Game and Parks staff have tested nearly 53,000 deer and found 630 that tested positive. CWD has now been found in 42 Nebraska counties, but no population declines attributable to the disease have been identified.

CWD is prion disease that attacks the brain of an infected deer and elk, eventually causing emaciation, listlessness, excessive salivation and death. It is generally thought that CWD is transmitted from animal to animal through exchange of body fluids, but other modes of transmission may exist.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, no person is known to have contracted CWD; however, hunters should cautiously handle and process deer and avoid consuming animals that test positive or look sick. Livestock and other animals not in the deer family also do not appear susceptible to CWD.

Hunters can help prevent the spread of CWD by using proper carcass disposal methods. CWD prions, the infectious proteins that transmit the disease, can remain viable for months or even years in the soil. Hunters should field dress animals at the place of kill, avoid spreading spinal cord or brain tissue to meat, and to dispose of the head (brain), spinal column and other bones at a licensed landfill.

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