While the snow and sub-zero temperatures don’t bring forth thinking about tents and camping, it’s almost time to make those first reservations for campsites at Shadehill Recreation area.Posted Feb. 21, 2013
By JAMIE SPAINHOWER
Adams County Editor
While the snow and sub-zero temperatures don’t bring forth thinking about tents and camping, it’s almost time to make those first reservations for campsites at Shadehill Recreation area.
“There are some changes on when and how to make reservations beginning this year,” said Jim Straight, District Park Supervisor.
Memorial Day is May 27, and the first day reservations can be made is Feb. 23.
Reservations need to be made 90 days in advance for campsites and any of the six cabins and a year in advance for the Lodge.
Straight said they are at or near 100 percent occupancy all summer long, and without reservations there probably won’t be a site, but campers can now make reservations 24-hours a day for a site, instead of only during business hours. “And yes, you talk to a live person, not a computer,” he laughed.
Cabins and sites need to have a 48-hour advance and there is a 14-day stay limit in the campground.
“We’ve made some improvements over the winter,” he said. “All of the campsites now have 50 amp electrical service. There are 56 campsites and currently six cabins, with another planned to be built this fall.”
There is running water, a comfort station including showers and for larger groups a lodge that sleeps 10.
“The lodge is really popular. It has a wraparound deck, sleeping for 10 people, a kitchen and it’s own bath,” he said. It’s also fully furnished except for linens, with bunk beds and futons.
Another new rule to keep in mind while planning is there will only be one camper allowed on a site. “There will be no double—ups allowed anymore,” he said.
However, even with all the nice amenities like electricity and running water, tents are always welcome.
The area has 10,000 acres of state land, and it is all open to foot traffic (hikers) and bike riders or those on horseback are free to go anywhere.
“All vehicles, including ATVs are required to sty on the trails,” said Straight.
The cold has made for a full campground also, for ice-fisherman and hunters, and those just seeking to enjoy the area.
“We had real good early ice this year,” he said. It was 10 to 16 inches thick and there was a lot of really good fishing early on.”
The main fish is Walleye, but Northerns, perch and crappies are also pulled from the water with some regularity.
With the temperatures warming up and then getting cold again, Straight urges fishermen to be careful, as “the ice has had some holes open up closer to the dam face.”
Fishing has slowed down a little bit also, he said, as the fish are moving around more.
Straight was raised in Gregory, S.D. and graduated from SDSU Brookings with a Park Management Degree.
“I started out to be an engineer, partly since that’s what all the tests in high school said I would be good at,” he said. After three years of college he got his first inside office job.
“After that I decided I’d better find another degree.”
He started at Black Hills Custer State Park, was in Mobridge for five years, and has now been at Shadehill a little over a year.
“I always liked this area and like it here. I like talking to the visitors and watching them enjoy the resources we have to offer them while they have a good time.”
There was a fire at the park last fall, near the campground caused by a fish.
“It was the Monday before the Bucyrus Fire, and a bird had been eating fish and apparently dropped one into the transformer. It arched up and caught fire,” he said. While there were some trees lost, the potential from the fire was it cleaned out some of the underbrush, and opened and area for future expansion.
“We’ll be able to put in another 15 or so sites and another comfort station,” he said.
In addition to camping, the park is open for day passes also.
To make a reservation or more information, call 1-800-710-2267, or go online to www.campsd.com. The park is located about 13 miles south of Lemmon.