Palisades State Park
Palisades is a small, 167-acre park located about 25 miles northeast of Sioux Falls near Garretson. Over 90,000 visitors each year are drawn to the park’s pink Sioux quartzite rock formations along Split Rock Creek.
The campground has more than a 98 percent occupancy rate and trails have seen an increasing number of users. The park also serves as a destination for multiple weddings and group events. With the increasing growth of the Sioux Falls metro area, these numbers are sure to keep growing as well. However, the small area and high use rate puts massive pressure on the park’s infrastructure and natural resources. Over the course of the fall of 2018, the South Dakota Parks and Wildlife Foundation (SDPWF) purchased and donated 267.5 acres of adjoining property to Palisades State Park. This more than doubled the current acreage of the park, bringing the new total to 434.5 acres.
In 2019, most of the new property was farmed or grazed as part of the purchase terms. This year gave the SD Game, Fish and Parks Department the opportunity to work with the local community to develop a comprehensive plan that utilizes the new land while being able to incorporate it seamlessly into the existing park.
In the fall of 2019, park staff were able to remove cedar trees from 10 acres of the property in preparation for native grass restoration. Some of the fences within the interior of the land have been removed for ease of navigation throughout the property and boundary signs have been ordered.
Development of the property will utilize a five-year phased planning approach, with an estimated cost of $8.3 million. Governor Noem has committed $500,000 for development and habitat on the new land. The South Dakota Parks and Wildlife Foundation has agreed to raise $1.6 million in private funds to match the Governor’s commitment.
In 2020, portions of the new property were planted into native grasses, pollinator plots and shelterbelts. The shelterbelts contain more than 35 different species of trees. Construction of the future entrance and campground road system began in the fall of 2020.
Going forward, portions of the property will continue to be developed in a phased approach with the final construction anticipated in spring of 2025. Development plans include the following:
» Approximately 75 new campsites
» Cabins and modern 2-bedroom cabins
» Over 3 miles of hiking trails
» Picnic and day use areas
» Additional access points along Split Rock Creek
» Water trail features like canoe/kayak launches
» Archery range
» Improved habitat and wildlife viewing opportunities
» A new entrance with a welcome center
To date, the South Dakota Parks and Wildlife Foundation has raised $1.5 million. We are still accepting donations to complete the Palisades State Park. To donate visit parkswildlifefoundation.org.
By the Numbers