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Access Denied on Twenty South Dakota Lakes

Danny V

Due to public lakes sprawling onto private land, water enthusiasts will no longer be able to access 20 lakes in the South Dakota.

The Game Fish and Parks Department addressed a crowd of approximately 300 concerned landowners and lake users regarding access to a long list of lakes.  The issue of access stems from the ruling by the South Dakota Supreme Court in March that said landowners have the right to limit access to lakes via their private land, that the lake waters have now encroached upon.  The far reaching waters edge on private land is considered a non-meandered body of water.

The next step is for the South Dakota State Legislature to take up the issue.  Currently neither a landowner or a member of the public has a superior right to use the water if the edges have expanded onto private land.

Kelly Hepler, secretary of the Game Fish and Parks department said although the public can use the park, picnic, bathrooms and other areas to the adjacent water, all boat ramps will be blocked to obstruct usage. Docks will not be put out this year until a legislative decision has been reached.

According to Dave Law of KXLG radioHepler also said that future fishing reports provided by the department will only be given for meandered waters with no reports made available for non-meandered bodies of water.  Stocking of fish will also cease on lakes that encroach onto private land.

The current list of restricted areas could be updated with additional lakes if deemed necessary.  Here is the current non-meandered list:

  • Caseys Slough, Cottonwood Lake GPA, Dry Lake #1, Dry Lake #2 and Swan Lake in Clark County;
  • Deep Lake and Goose Lake in Codington County;
  • East Krause Lake, Lynn Lake, Middle Lynn Lake and Reetz Lake in Day County;
  • North Scatterwood Lake in Edmunds County;
  • Three Buck Lake in Hamlin County;
  • Bullhead Lake, Cattail-Kettle Lake and Cottonwood Lake in Marshall County;
  • Keisz Lake in McPherson County;
  • Grass Lake, Loss Lake, Scott Lake and Twin Lakes in Minnehaha County;
  • Twin Lakes in Sanborn County;
  • Cottonwood Lake and Mud Lake in Spink County; and
  • Dog Ear Lake in Tripp County.

Public notice signs will be posted in these areas by the end of April.

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