Wylie Park Campground

A camper pulls in at Wylie Park Campground. Credit: American News File by John Davis

S.D. state lawmakers for the second time this winter have put the kibosh on plans to expand the government’s share of the camping industry in South Dakota, according to the Argus Leader.

Earlier this month, a Legislative committee resoundingly rejected a proposal from Gov. Kristi Noem to add a new campground at Custer State Park in the Black Hills after private campground owners rallied enough opposition to kill the $10 million project.

And some of them were back at the Capitol in full force this week when they successfully got another committee to kill a bill that would have made it easier for cities and towns to grow their municipal campgrounds.

“A campground in Rapid City, Trent, Mitchell or Aberdeen is equally as important to its business owner and employees as is that of its counterpart in the area of Custer,” said Steve Saint, owner of Fort Welikit Family Campground.

The measure in their crosshairs this time was Senate Bill 187, a bill that would have modified a decades-old law that requires local governments to get the blessing of nearby campgrounds before expanding public-owned campgrounds.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Al Novstrup, R-Aberdeen, brought the bill after a municipal campground in his district established plans to expand but was unable to obtain approval from a privately-owned campground located within the 15-mile radius spelled out in the law his bill targeted.

While Novstrup was able to get his bill through the Senate, the House Local Government Committee took a different approach, voting 10-3 in a vote seen as a symbol of support for the private sector over the public sector.

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