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Old 07-30-2010, 08:11 PM   #1
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South Dakota in Sept.

I have a couple of weeks to travel in Sept. and am planning on kicking back in SD, just camping and some site seeing. Maybe an old fort or 2 or an outstanding museum along the way.
I'm looking at mostly state run parks and maybe a couple of C. O. E.'s.
There is a lot to choose from, and I was wondering if any of you want to recommend some of your favorite stomping grounds?
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Old 07-30-2010, 08:35 PM   #2
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Lots of people go western South Dakota. When my kids were at home we'd go out there. Later I went to the rally at Sturgis. One of my favorite views of South Dakota is in the rear view mirror.
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Old 07-31-2010, 07:27 AM   #3
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Splitrock,
I recently changed my plans from CO to SD. The SD state park web site is awsome. Looks like SD has put a lot into their park system to attract campers. Already been to the western end of the state. May go back that way again, but will skip the more touristy areas. Basically, looking for a road less traveled this trip.
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Old 07-31-2010, 08:47 AM   #4
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A fall visit to Badlands National Park, the Black Hills and Custer State Park is about as good as it gets - and if you can hang around till the end of September the Buffalo Roundup is some terrific icing on the cake:

SD GFP | State Parks | Directory | Custer State Park | Events | Buffalo Roundup & Arts Festival

A great place to visit.


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Old 07-31-2010, 10:21 AM   #5
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Good suggestions RangerJay. Early in June we stayed at the Sylvan Lake campground in Custer State Park -- very pretty lake 5 minutes away! One caution -- you must enter and exit only on SD-89 from Custer to the south. Small tunnels obstruct SD-87 going east & west from Sylvan Lake. The only dump station we found in the park was at the Game Lodge campground. That worked for us as we only stayed at Sylvan Lake 2 nights.

Things to see? Drive the Needles. Bison in Wind Cave N.P. Tour Jewel Cave or Wind Cave. Shop Hill City. Deadwood is interesting -- cemetery too if you're into that. Badlands are definitely worth a swing-through. Wall Drug? Not so much...
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Old 08-01-2010, 09:33 AM   #6
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RangerJay and CanoeStream,
Thanks for sharing about your favorite places to visit when in SD.
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Old 08-01-2010, 10:05 PM   #7
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Sylvan Lake - followup info

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Five minutes from the campground -- the lake is a small reservoir. Easy walking, picnic grounds, lodge

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The Needles east of Sylvan Lake on SD-87.

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Don't even try to take your Airstream on any road with a tunnel in the Black Hills. This is Tunnel 5. Custer State Park road map is here.

Sylvan Lake Campground site 1E.
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Sylvan Lake Campground site 2E (foreground right) and 3E.
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Campground map is here. Site sizes here. Sites 6 & 7 and sites 36 & 37 seemed mighty close together; would be okay for camping with friends unless you can't reserve other "any unit" sites. Sites 8, 9, 10 & 11 are up a hill and the tent parking area isn't big enough to turn around -- you'd have to back downhill out of sites 8-11 -- seemed a reasonable thing to do as the road levels out and the intersection is open by site 7; tougher to do if too many spectators...

Avoid the 'small RV' sites. The curve around by sites 26-29 is tight and brush is close. IIRC sites 30, 34 & 35 would be okay. If your trailer is longer and you can't park your TV right there, there's a small amount of parking by the shower and a fair amount more up the hill by the tent sites 12-21.

Keystone is very touristy. I've heard 'old Keystone' is a bit more original -- I remember small shops at the latter from a trip back in the '70s. We didn't go there on this trip. I'd have to ask my sister-in-law for more info. To get closer, try to google: blair st keystone sd.
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Old 08-02-2010, 03:25 AM   #8
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In Re: Don't even try to take your Airstream on any road with a tunnel in the Black Hills. This is Tunnel 5. Custer State Park road map is here.

I looked at the tunnel sizes, and they all looked big enough. Is there something that we don't know? Also is there room to hang a u turn?

BTW, great pic's!
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Old 08-02-2010, 07:27 AM   #9
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Thanks for the additional info.
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Old 08-02-2010, 07:58 AM   #10
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I looked at the tunnel sizes, and they all looked big enough. Is there something that we don't know? Also is there room to hang a u turn?
I didn't have to pull in my truck's towing mirrors but almost felt I should. Check-in staff at the park give a tunnel width figure of 8'O" and say they end up measuring a lot of units whose owners insist they'll fit.
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Old 08-02-2010, 09:12 AM   #11
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I'm just a beat up old South Dakota resident. My brother and his family lived in Rapid City in 1972. I'd never, ever, camp (or sleep) in Keystone or anywhere along Rapid Creek.

SD Water Science Center: 1972 Black Hills-Rapid City Flood Revisited - Photos

Many of the deaths in the 1972 flood were campers at Keystone. My brother helped get people out of the trees. This flood happened in the dark of night when most people slept.


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238 dead and 3,057 injured. Several bodies were never found. Just Google Rapid City Flood. There's a lot of safe spots to stay in the hills above the dams. Those dams have failed in the past. All the people who died thought they were safe.

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Old 08-02-2010, 09:39 AM   #12
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I don't know about the whole world, but in South Dakota, the reason the land along rivers and creeks, and blow dams, is available for campgrounds and parks, is that land doesn't have homes and businesses built on it. The reason there's no homes or businesses built along the rivers, creeks, and below the dams, is those are known flood plains and flash flood areas (not safe for homes).

One of the biggest campgrounds at Lewis & Clark reservoir is below the dam, right along the spillway. There's no campgrounds up on the hill overlooking the lake. Why not? There's houses there. It's a safe place.
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Old 08-02-2010, 09:41 AM   #13
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I'm just a beat up old South Dakota resident. My brother and his family lived in Rapid City in 1972. I'd never, ever, camp (or sleep) in Keystone or anywhere along Rapid Creek.

SD Water Science Center: 1972 Black Hills-Rapid City Flood Revisited - Photos

Many of the deaths in the 1972 flood were campers at Keystone. My brother helped get people out of the trees. This flood happened in the dark of night when most people slept.

Attachment 107951

238 dead and 3,057 injured. Several bodies were never found. Just Google Rapid City Flood. There's a lot of safe spots to stay in the hills above the dams. Those dams have failed in the past. All the people who died thought they were safe.

Gary
Those are some really eye opening photos. You probably know, I don't,
since my maps don't show it maybe you can enlighten me, does Rapid Creek flow thru Custer State Park?
Also has the state or Feds taken any measures so that does not happen again?
That was 38 years ago. They had plenty of time to put in some safety measures.
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Old 08-02-2010, 09:45 AM   #14
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I must have been typing when you sent your last post and I didn't see it. That kinda answers my next set of questions.
Thanks for the heads up.

Lewis and Clark is on my list of places to camp and so are other campgrounds along the Missouri.
Are they all below the dams?
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Old 08-02-2010, 10:37 AM   #15
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There's really nothing different now. Just complacency, denial, and greed. The dams are all still there. Still dirt. It took probably 20 years for Pactola to fill up again. We had dry years before the flood. That's why they seeded the clouds the day of the flood. By the way, they didn't tell the campers at Keystone they were seeding the clouds right above them.

KELOLAND.com | Sioux Falls News & Weather, South Dakota News & Weather, Minnesota and Iowa News


Do your homework. Don't just plop down by a pretty stream. There might be an earthen dam right above you. I don't remember fatalities in Custer park, but they have their creeks. Be fussy. I'm not in the: "It can't happen to me" crowd. It CAN happen to me. I've never heard anybody say they were sorry that they camped on a safe site.

Some campers seem attracted to the dangerous spots near rivers and streams. I can camp in a stream area and walk down to the stream, but I want to sleep up on the hill away from anything like a flash flood area.

That's one thing I like about the KOA's and other commercial campgrounds. They're usually located in a pretty safe area. The local, state, and national parks are often developed on land that's deemed unsafe. Guess what the flood path of the Rapid Creek flood in Rapid City is now. You guessed it . . . a park.

When's the last time ya heard about anybody killed in a flash flood in a Wal Mart parking lot? :-) They build those on the hill tops on purpose. I'm not writing about making a family vacation in Wal Mart parking lots, but I bet if I picked spots next to big boxes I'd be much safer than in a river park or creek side campground.

Sorry creek siders, I'm just not yer guy.
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Old 08-02-2010, 11:03 AM   #16
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Lewis and Clark is on my list of places to camp and so are other campgrounds along the Missouri.
Are they all below the dams?

Gavin's Point Dam (Lewis & Clark) is an earthen dam below a series of other earthen dams. There are above the spillway campgrounds at Lewis & Clark but they fill up first. The last time I camped at Lewis & Clark, it was HOT and the mosquitos tried to eat me alive. It's not my favorite spot. Of course, the towns of Yankton and Sioux City are both below those dams.

I "sort" of trust those dams, but I don't want to camp directly below any dam on the planet. If ya go to Google Earth Gavin's Point Dam, Yankton, SD, and look at the green tree markers you see sites like Weigand Recreation Area on the Nebraska bluff side.

I don't camp around here so, no first hand experience.
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Old 08-02-2010, 11:11 AM   #17
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Thanks for sharing that info. I'll keep it in mind when traveling and picking future camp sites around the country.
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Old 08-03-2010, 04:48 AM   #18
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Good info, I'd never thought of that as a problem. Is the fact that it is an earthen dam the problem, or could the same danger be applied to dams like Davis Dam (Lake Mojave) or Hoover Dam (Lake Meade) ?
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Old 08-03-2010, 09:58 AM   #19
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Good info, I'd never thought of that as a problem. Is the fact that it is an earthen dam the problem, or could the same danger be applied to dams like Davis Dam (Lake Mojave) or Hoover Dam (Lake Meade) ?

I guess everything's a personal decision. I don't live or go to sleep below a dam. The problem we had here was the concrete dam had earthen dams above it. The concrete dam held but there was a flow of water four feet high coming over the top.

I don't camp under high voltage power lines either.

To each their own. May we all return home safe and happy!

Gary
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Old 08-09-2010, 05:38 PM   #20
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Campers Flip With Family Inside

KELOLAND.com | Sioux Falls News & Weather, South Dakota News & Weather, Minnesota and Iowa News

Campers Flip With Family Inside


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By Cherlene Richards
Published: August 9, 2010, 4:53 PM

YANKTON, SD - People are picking up the pieces after a dangerous thunderstorm rolled through KELOLAND Sunday night, leaving behind a trail of destruction. Near Yankton, trees snapped like toothpicks, and campers flipped with people still inside.

Three campgrounds near the Gavins Point Dam were slammed head on with straight-line winds of up to 70 miles per hour. Of the hundreds of people there Sunday night, two were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, and countless others received scratches and bruises from the storm. One Iowa family says they're just happy no one was seriously hurt, especially when their campers overturned with their children still inside.

Without warning, the winds picked up fast.

�All of a sudden, my husband says, 'Denise, go to their campground tell them to take cover.' He went to our campground to get the girls,� Denise Schreier said.

Schreier ran to get her 4-year-old son in one camper, while Paul ran to warn their daughter and her friend in a separate one. But neither of them made it in time.

�Carla and her son got out, Brian went to grab his dogs and my son and the camper just flipped over, rolled twice right in front of me. I darted behind a tree' our camper went over,� Denise said.

�As soon as my dad reached for the door, we saw him out the window, it flipped. I went flying and the mattress was on me, and I blacked out,� Tawney Schreier said.

Thirteen-year-old Tawney and her 12-year-old friend, Melea Nielsen, say it happened so fast and without warning. When Tawney came to, she called 911.

�Things were breaking when we were trying to stand on them from all the water leaking in,� Tawney said.

And it's hard to believe that just feet away, her little brother was tossed in this camper that landed with the door to the ground. Their friend inside broke a window and climbed out, with Brayden and his two pets. Brayden received scratches on his arm and their friend a bump on the head. Everyone is just happy no one was seriously injured.

�Things can be replaced, and we're glad everybody's OK,� Denise said.

Crews at Cottonwood campground are also trying to lift trees off of campers.

Some of the trees that were damaged Sunday night were almost 100 feet tall and several decades old.

Among the hundreds of people that were staying at these campgrounds, only about two dozen campers were overturned. For the Schreier family, it's proof of Mother Nature's strength and a sign that lives can change in an instant.

�Last night, it was really hard to go to sleep because you could see all the flashbacks, of everything broken around you,� Tawney said.

Several homes in the lake area west of Yankton were also damaged by fallen limbs and trees. Lightening struck a home in Yankton, but damage was minimal.

Officials say they haven't seen this much damage in the area in at least six or seven years.




� 2010 KELOLAND TV. All Rights Reserved.
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