BHA members enjoy world-class hunting and fishing and year-round recreational opportunities in South Dakota’s Black Hills National Forest. This area is home to robust populations of elk, mule deer, whitetails, and turkeys.
It’s also an area where the United States Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management have asked the Secretary of the Interior to implement a 20-year mineral withdrawal of 20,574 acres of public lands. Specifically, the proposal focuses on the Pactola Reservoir-Rapid Creek Watershed in Pennington County. This area is not only important to wildlife and hunters, but boasts an incredible fishery for giant lake trout, big browns, and rainbows.
The withdrawal would ensure that these lands and waters and the cultural and natural resources they contain would be protected from the impacts of mineral exploration and development for at least the next two decades. However, the proposed protections would not limit hunting, fishing, or cultural activities, grazing, logging, or mining on private lands.
South Dakota BHA fully supports this proposed mineral withdrawal and encourages the USFS and BLM to expand the boundaries even further to protect more of the watershed including important tributaries. After all, impacts from upstream mining would affect the watershed downstream including the Pactola Reservoir and its fishery.
As a BHA member who values our wild public lands, waters, and wildlife, we encourage you to add your voice in support of the proposed mineral withdrawal, and to urge the DOI to consider expanding the boundaries of these protections even further. Simply put, this area is too special to risk.
Thank you for speaking up,
- The South Dakota Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers