A Grand Opening and Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony was held Friday morning for the new $5-million dollar, 4-thousand square foot Bison Center at Custer State Park.
Dignitaries taking part included Lt Gov Larry Rhoden, GF&P Secretary Kevin Robling, Custer State Park Superintendent Matt Snyder, and Walter Panzirer, trustee for the Helmsley Charitable Trust, which provided a $4-million dollar grant for the project.
Panzirer said the center will be a landmark destination for visitors from across South Dakota and around the world who want to understand the North American bison’s rich history and the role the park played in preserving the species.
Governor Kristi Noem says the one-of-a-kind center will allow Custer State Park to tell its story and educate future generations on the importance of the bison in history, especially to the Native American tribes of the Great Plains.
Custer State Park has one of the world’s largest publicly-owned, free-roaming bison herds with nearly 1,400 animals.
The Bison Center Grand Opening helped kickoff South Dakota’s State Park Open House and Free Fishing Weekend, which runs through Sunday.
Park entry fees are waived for the weekend and fishing licenses aren’t needed, but catch limits and other angling regulations still apply – as do campground and other normal fees.