Friday begins the annual summer kickoff weekend in which visitors to South Dakota state parks can enjoy free entrance into all of the parks and recreation areas. In addition, a number of parks will hold special events to kick off the summer. Camping fees still apply. This weekend is also free fishing weekend. No fishing licenses are required. Regulations and limits still apply.
Visitors to Custer State Park this weekend can enjoy a variety of activities and special events, all for free. This is also the weekend for the park’s infamous buffalo chip throwing contest. The park hosts a free fishing derby, awarding prizes for anglers in each age group. A list of activities may be found at custerstatepark.com or by calling 255-4515.
The weekend begins Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. with a talk at the visitor center, followed by an evening program at the Game Lodge Campground.
The annual pancake feed starts at 8 a.m. at the Game Lodge Saturday, with a free-will donation to benefit The Storehouse in Custer. The feed will take place Sunday as well.
Much of the activities will take place throughout the day at the Peter Norbeck Outdoor Educa-tion Center, including fire truck demonstrations and waterworks fun, a junior naturalist program, horns vs. antlers talk and the “step outside trailer.”
Saturday will see free hay rack rides at Blue Bell Lodge at 11 a.m., fishing at Sylvan Lake from 1-3:30 p.m., an ice cream social at Coolidge General Store from 2-4 p.m., music from the Ramblin’ Rangers from 7-9 p.m. at the Game Lodge and a program at 7 p.m. at Blue Bell Campground.
Sunday will see a guided birding hike on French Creek Canyon Trail, more hay rack rides at the same time, more fishing at Legion Lake at noon, Bison Olympics at 1 p.m. at the Peter Norbeck Outdoor Education Center and a buffalo chip flip at the same site beginning at 3:30 p.m.