By Jackelyn Severin The Game, Fish and Parks Department has unveiled its budget plans to the state legislative Appropriations Committee. The Department hopes to open a new state park south of Sioux Falls called Blood Run. Officials say the land surrounding the site is valued around 5 million dollars. Although Game, Fish and Parks won’t use state General Funds for the park it still needs legislative approval to purchase the land. Jeff Scherschligt is with the South Dakota Parks and Wildlife Foundation which has helped Game, Fish and Parks secure over 1 million dollars in private funds to purchase land for the Blood Run site. The department will use 500,000 dollars to help pay for the land and the rest he says is hopefully covered by federal dollars through the Forest Legacy Program. Scherschligt says the park will increase tourism and bring economic activity to the area. Scherschligt says, "I think it would be a shame if we looked into the future in 20 years and we realize we didn’t take advantage of this opportunity today because this land will get gobbled up for private development." Lawmakers expressed concern that the anticipated 2.3 million in federal funding is not yet secured for the Blood Run site. Officials with Game, Fish and Parks say a national group called the Conservation Fund Organization is prepared to take over the property until federal funds come in. Lawmakers will vote on the Game, Fish and Parks’ budget proposals later in the session.
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