Thursday, October 1, 2009

Custer State Park

In June, we camped at Custer State Park in South Dakota. It was a great, inexpensive, place to stay while visiting Mount Rushmore.

I am in love with Custer State Park. It's like a national park that just is run by a state. It was made a State Forest in 1912 and much of the buildings, including the following (the visitor's center) were built by the CCC.



For those who don't know, the CCC was one of the social programs of the Great Depression. The Civilian Conservation Corps put young men to work during the depression. They built bridges and roads, and frequently built picnic areas and buildings within state parks and national parks across the country (my favorite Texas State Park, Garner State Park, is full of CCC architecture). They built in an Arts and Crafts style. And their designs, very rustic and close to nature, often using locally found materials, is often referred to as "National Park Rustic." Anyway, I enjoy CCC architecture and was delighted to see it in the park.

There are a lot of bison in the park and can be easily seen. This picture is not zoomed in at all. I took it out my window as we drove past.


They like to hold up traffic, too:



As do the burros. Many, many years ago (I believe in the 1920s?) you could hire a burro to take you to Harney Peak. When that service was discontinued, the burros were just set free. Now a "wild" herd of burros live in the park and beg drivers for food. When we passed these, another group of people were beginning to approach the burros with pieces of bread. The park allows it, since they're somewhat domesticated (or at least are the descendants of domesticated animals), though they tell you to "use your judgement." (Unlike the bison--everywhere you go and on every brochure/map/etc. it states "Buffalo are dangerous. Do not approach.")





We saw a lot of other animals in the park, too. In addition to the animals I mentioned in the last post, I also saw pronghorn, mule deer, a beaver (I think), and a bat. Also in the park, though we didn't see any, are big-horn sheep, mountain goats, rattlesnakes, and mountain lions.
A very hard to see mule deer:

And, a hiding pronghorn:
We really enjoyed Custer State Park. It was a great place to camp, and there's a lot we didn't get to do. We just might go back sometime, notwithstanding the 6 hour drive. :)

9 comments:

South Dakota Tourism said...

Thank you for visiting South Dakota! Your pictures are wonderful! We hope you enjoyed your time here. Please come back and visit us soon!

Custer State Park said...

Custer state park is a great place for experience the Old West and great outdoors with a visit to South Dakota's Custer State Park. Custer State Park offers 71,000 acres of rugged terrain and a spectrum of activities. Custer State Park hosts the Buffalo Roundup, which showcases one of the largest herds of free-roaming buffalo in the United States.

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Shenandoah bed and breakfast said...

Custer State Park is a state park and wildlife reserve in the Black Hills of southwestern South Dakota, USA. The park is South Dakota's largest and first state park, named after Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer.

Victorian inn bed and breakfast said...

Custer State Park is a state park and wildlife reserve in the Black Hills of southwestern South Dakota, USA. The park is South Dakota's largest and first state park, named after Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer.

Té la mà Maria - Reus said...

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JoAnn said...

I'm so glad I popped over here to see some buffalo! What a way to end my day! Thanks!

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NatalieAllyeneMeanFightingMachine said...

We will check out Custer and Garner. Thanks for the recommendations.