• City’s newest park ready for fishing, boating, hiking
BROOKINGS – The first phase of construction at the Dakota Nature Park has been completed, and the park is once again open for use, it was announced today by Peter Colson, the city’s director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry.
New entry roads leading to newly developed parking areas have been completed, Colson said. From now on, only foot and bicycle traffic are allowed inside the park.
All motorized vehicles must park in one of the two parking lots located on the east side of the park off 22nd Avenue or on the southwest side off 32nd Street South.
Among the new amenities in the nature park are fishing piers and launch areas, Colson said.
Canoes, kayaks and other small boats may launch by the new ramp off the parking lot on the east pond, and several other canoe and kayak launch areas are available on the west ponds.
Two ADA-accessible floating piers are also now available on the east and middle ponds to enhance fishing experiences. Because the ponds vary in depth and clarity, swimming is discouraged.
All South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks fishing regulations apply to the ponds within the park, Colson reminded park users this week, and only electric motors may be used with boats.
Park-goers should remember, too, that all city ordinances apply to Dakota Nature Park, which means an 11 p.m. park closing time, prohibition of fireworks and leash requirements for all pets.
Despite the park’s reopening, work will continue in various parts of the 135-acre tract, the director said. For example, the past weekend firefighters burned off a large area of thatch and undesirable weeds so that park staffers can establish a new prairie grass field.
In the future, there will be other projects that require temporary closure of areas within the park, and users are asked to stay away from the areas that are posted.
Phase II of the park development, set to begin soon, will include the construction of a nature center in the southwest corner of the park.
“The City of Brookings thanks park patrons for their cooperation as they enjoy these new amenities,” Colson said.
Dakota Nature Park has been reclaimed from the old city landfill and gravel pit. The park includes a series of ponds for fishing and boating, as well as hiking and biking trails.