RAPID CITY — Construction of the Bison Center in Custer State Park is progressing nicely, even as officials make plans for even more building improvements in the park.

Scott Simpson, director of the state parks and recreation division told the Game, Fish and Parks Commission that the majority of the dirt work and utility work is completed at the planned Bison Center. Water lines have been run, footings have been poured and walls are getting ready be poured before winter, he said. The building, Simpson said, is a package that will be shipped as soon as crews have completed the pours and have everything in place.

“Right now we are making sure that the area looks good for Roundup,” Simpson said about the annual Buffalo Roundup that is scheduled for Sept. 23-25. “We want to make sure that our construction doesn’t impact that event.”

The Bison Center is a $5 million building that will serve as a large visitor’s center. It’s primary purpose will be to tell the story of the bison, including the importance of buffalo to manage Custer State Park and the animal’s importance to the Native American culture.  The project is funded primarily with a $4 million gift from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, a $500,000 allocation from the S.D. Legislature, $170,000 from the S.D. Parks and Wildlife Foundation, and other private donations.

During his presentation to the commission, Simpson also said the department is looking into options for improving the Sylvan Lake Store. He explained that Custer State Park has a concessionaire that pays a franchise fee to the state for operations. Most of that money is used to pay off the state’s bond obligations for improvements in the park, but lately the revenues have greatly exceeded the amount of the payment, leaving the park with a reserve amount. By law, the state is required to use those additional revenues to make improvements in the park or to enhance concessions.

“One of the biggest sore spots we have in the park is Sylvan Lake,” Simpson said. “It’s a building that has lived its life cycle.”

Simpson said park staff is working with an architect who will help the department come up with a plan to improve the building, and give cost estimates. He hopes to be able to start construction in the fall of 2022.

When Bison Attack in Yellowstone, They Don’t Care If It’s a Car

(From Laramie Live)

If you’ve gone to YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or any other type of social media page, there’s a good chance you’ve seen Bison getting angry. 2021 has been a record setting year for attendance in Yellowstone National Park and we’ve seen MANY videos, pictures and heard stories of Bison/Human interactions. Stay 25 yards away from bison when you see them in Yellowstone.

The American Bison is a magnificent sight! They’re big, bad and don’t take crap off of anyone or anything. According to this first video that was put up this past Augusts of a Bison going head first into the rear bumper of a Chevy Impala and rips it off.



Francie M Berg

Author of the Buffalo Tales &Trails blog

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