Custer State Park Visitor Center
The Custer State Park Visitor Center was dedicated on May 6, 2016. The facility offers an array of opportunities including a large interactive map, 20-foot- tall scale models of the Cathedral Spires and numerous displays depicting the natural world of Custer State Park.
Throughout the building, displays showcase the park’s iconic inhabitants, the buffalo. Additionally, the building includes a 100-seat theater where the new park film, narrated by actor Kevin Costner, immerses visitors into many aspects of the park. The South Dakota Parks and Wildlife Foundation partnered with Game, Fish and Parks to make the visitor center a reality and fundraised over $3.2 million.
CUSTER STATE PARK HISTORY
Custer State Park is South Dakota’s first and largest state park, its history dates back to 1897. Just eight years after South Dakota joined the union, Congress granted to the state, sections 16 and 36 in every township as school lands. South Dakota had difficulties attempting to administer the scattered blocks of state school lands within the Black Hills timberland. In 1906, negotiations opened to exchange the scattered lands for a solid block. In 1910, South Dakota relinquished all rights to 60,000+ acres of timberland within the Black Hills Forest Reserve in exchange for nearly 50,000 acres of forest in Custer County and about 12,000 acres in Harding County. Together, these two parcels were designated Custer State Forest in 1912. After action by the State Legislature, having been prompted by the urgings of “prairie statesman” Governor Peter Norbeck, Custer State Forest became Custer State Park.
By the Numbers
May 6, 2016