Governor Dennis Daugaard has ended a two year moratorium on land acquisitions for the Department of Game, Fish, and Parks.

Governor Daugaard said in his news release:

“I believe the state should be prudent about land acquisition. I want to consider local preferences and priorities as we make sure that all South Dakotans have great hunting and outdoor opportunities now and in the future.”

New procedures to buy land have been implemented. County Commissioners will receive advance notice of possible acquisitions of 80 acres or more. Opportunity for meetings and comments will be provided. Individuals who wish to offer input will have and additional 30 days to comment.

All acquisitions must be with a willing seller. No condemnations. The state will continue to pay property taxes on all acquired lands.

Dick Brown, head of the South Dakota  Parks and Wildlife Foundation issued

the following statement:

I am delighted with Governor Daugaard’s announcement and pleased to see that all stakeholders in protecting and preserving our wonderful natural resources in South Dakota for now and generations to come will be provided this tool for the public interest.   It is a win/win decision for all involved especially those who support the principle that private landowners have the right to sell their land to whom they prefer.  This is especially critical for those private landowners who have a charitable commitment to the public interest—creating parks, nature trails, lake access, wildlife production areas, bike trails etc.  The process and procedures set forth in the Governor’s press release are fair, practicable and reasonable.  The Governor’s decision represents a clear understanding and appreciation that  public and private interests can be balanced, mutually supportive  and beneficially served.

GFP’s Wildlife Division currently owns less than 0.6 percent of the land in South Dakota, which is managed for wildlife habitat, hunting and other recreational opportunities.