Oakwood Lakes State Park to Host Winter Events
VOLGA, S.D. – Oakwood Lake State Park will host the Kool Kids’ Klassic Fishing Derby and the Groundhog Day Cross-Country Ski Tour on Jan. 26 and 27, respectively.
On Jan. 26, children under age 14 are invited to take part in the Kool Kids’ Klassic Ice Fishing Derby. Registration for the derby is $2 and will take place at the Welcome Center at 11 a.m. The first 100 entries will receive a free fishing pole made by park staff. Bait is furnished and event staff will drill holes in the ice as needed. Fishing will take place in designated areas from 12 to 2 p.m. with weigh-in to follow. Winners will be announced at the award ceremony following fishing. Snacks will be available throughout the day, and numerous door prize drawings will be held.
On Jan. 27, the Groundhog Day Ski Event will feature a 5-kilometer non-competitive poker run, a 2-mile non-competitive snowshoe poker run, a 10-kilometer competitive race and a kick sled race. A registration fee of $8 for adults and $3 for youth (ages 14-17) applies to the ski race/poker run. Prizes will be awarded to the winners in each age group, as well as in other categories.
The day also features the annual Sons of Norway Barnelopet Children's Ski Run. This event is free for kids 13 and under.
Registration for the ski events begins at the park shop at 12:30 p.m. The race will start at 1:30 p.m. Cookies, hot chocolate and various Norwegian treats will be served throughout the day. Ski rentals for the event are available from Sioux River Bicycles and Fitness. Snowshoes are available to borrow from the park; call to reserve. In the event of no snow, walks will be held in place of the races.
“These events are a great way for the entire family to get active, get outside and have fun at the park,” said Randy Pitts, Park Manager at Oakwood Lakes State Park. “The park offers many opportunities for outdoor winter recreation that families can enjoy.”
The fishing derby is sponsored the City of Brookings, Brookings Engraving, Brookings Radio, Gas ‘N’ More, Brookings Hy-Vee Food Store, Porter’s Bait, 1481 Grille, SD Division of Parks and Recreation, and the Bruce Market.
The cross-country ski tour is sponsored by the Sons of Norway, Sioux River Bicycles and Fitness, Brookings Radio, 1481 Grille, Brookings Engraving, and the SD Division of Parks and Recreation.
Park entrance licenses are required to enter the park and will be available for purchase. For additional information on the weekend’s events, call Oakwood Lakes State Park at 605-627-5441. For a calendar of other upcoming special events in South Dakota's state parks and recreation areas, visit www.gfp.sd.gov.
Enjoy “Eagles and Bagels” at Oahe Downstream Recreation Area
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PIERRE, S.D. - Visitors of the Oahe Downstream Recreation Area near Fort Pierre will learn all about the park's winter residents and enjoy a snack on the Eagles and Bagels Walk in the Park Feb 2.
“The annual event has had great attendance. This is a good opportunity for families and participants to get out and enjoy our South Dakota winter and view the migrating eagles found at the Oahe Downstream Recreation Area,” said Pat Buscher, Oahe DS District Supervisor.
Participants will also learn more about eagles from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Charlene Bessken, author of the 1991 children’s book, Eagles for Kids. Bessken also wrote the Wisconsin Bald Eagle Recovery Plan, and she coordinated recovery efforts.
Event participants have a great opportunity to view, learn, and ask questions about the bald eagles on the guided walk. During January and February park visitors always have a great chance of seeing many birds. The cold weather, abundant cottonwood trees, and a stable food source keep the eagles located close to the open water of the downstream area, said Buscher.
The Feb. 2 program will begin at 9 a.m. CT at the Oahe Downstream group lodge. A short presentation will highlight eagles, their habitat, and tips and proper conduct for viewing and photographing birds. The group will then travel into the park for a 2-mile guided hike (weather permitting) to observe the birds in their natural setting. The hike will include a number of stops to view eagles and answer questions. Participants are encouraged to bring binoculars, cameras, comfortable hiking shoes and cold weather clothing.
Following the hike, guests are invited back to the lodge for bagels, provided by Pier 347, and coffee and juice, provided by Lynn’s DakotaMart.
The Oahe Downstream campgrounds are currently closed to vehicle traffic to protect the roosting eagles. Walkers and cross-country skiers are allowed in those areas, although they must be careful not to disturb the roosting eagles. If disturbed, the eagles may abandon their roosts and use up valuable food reserves.
There is no cost for the guided walk, but a South Dakota park entrance license is required. The 2013 park entrance licenses are available at the park. For more information, call 605-223-7722. Oahe Downstream Recreation Area is located five miles north of Fort Pierre, just off state Highway 1806.
Ice Bowl to Test Disc Golfers Feb. 2 at Richmond Lake
ABERDEEN, S.D. – Grab your flying discs and warm up your throwing arm. Disc golfers in South Dakota are invited to compete in the annual Frozen Tundra Challenge on Saturday, Feb. 2, at Richmond Lake Recreation Area near Aberdeen.
Ice bowls are held across the country, designed to really test even die-hard disc golfers. Participants will play one round of 18 holes, and prizes will be awarded. Registration takes place at 10 a.m. in the park office at Forest Drive, with a tee off time of 11 a.m. A chili feed and potluck will take place following the tournament.
The entry fee is $10 with a donation of two cans of non-perishable food. All food proceeds will go to the Salvation Army food bank. A park entrance license is also required.
The event takes place at the disc golf course at Richmond Lake Recreation Area’s Forest Drive unit, located 10 miles northwest of Aberdeen, off U.S. Highway 281. The tournament is co-sponsored by the Aberdeen Area Disc Golf Association and the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks.
For more information on the Frozen Tundra Challenge or Richmond Lake Recreation Area, contact the park office at (605) 626-3488.