Feed-stream into Castle Creek, which is a part of the Rapid Creek Watershed. Photo by Top Dog Publishing.
Drink a glass of water. Appreciate where it comes from. Know that its sweet, clear goodness is threatened by gold exploration here in the Central Black Hills.
Then do something important — but easy — for Earth Day. Take our Earth Day Challenge!
First, if you already signed our petition - THANK YOU!
NEXT, take our Earth Day Challenge and get one, two, three, or four of your friends or family members to also sign by sending them this link (via email, snail mail, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, what have you.) Click. Post. Share. Repeat. It's as easy as 1, 2, 3.
It's one small click for human kind, but a giant leap for the Rapid Creek Watershed. Enjoy and appreciate our water that comes from this precious watershed.
Need more information about RCWA?
The Rapid Creek Watershed Action (RCWA) launched this campaign in June, 2020 to have federally managed surface lands in the upper Rapid Creek watershed designated as a recreation area, subject to mineral claim withdrawal.
We need to demonstrate local support for this action by presenting thousands of signatures to our Congressional delegation. Sign here. and then share.
This small (198,000 acres) but special place is ground zero for gold mining exploration and production that have consistently resulted in water contamination problems over the years.
This designation is small. But it is critical.
The watershed includes sites sacred to the Oceti Sakowin and other Indigenous Nations.
It is the source of drinking water for Rapid City, Ellsworth Air Force Base, rural towns, and beyond.
It provides irrigation and water for agriculture and ranching along Rapid Creek and the Cheyenne River.
It is an economic driver of our tourism economy.
It not only sustains wildlife populations, but also provides sustenance for local people who use it for recreation, food, and the well-being that comes with our access to the wild country of the Northern Great Plains. The time we spend in the Black Hills teaches and restores us. Regardless of where we live, the Black Hills is special to us all, We are sustained by the knowledge that we are helping to protect healthy environments and that wild lands remain.
Thank you for taking on this Earth Day Challenge, if you choose to accept it. : )
We’re happy to see the following Rapid City Journal’s article about the economic value of recreation in the Black Hills. Current mining claims and drilling threaten Rapid Creek (Rapid City’s drinking water) and the local economy. Designating the Rapid Creek watershed as a Congressionally-designated Recreation Area will protect our water and our livelihoods. Sign our Petition. Donate to our efforts here.
The Black Hills can be deceiving — the region is rich in natural resources like timber, but it also has natural beauty in spades and wide swaths of wilderness for recreational opportunities. “A lot of guests are on their way to Yellowstone or Glacier [National Parks], but they get to the Black Hills and fall in love and become repeat visitors. It happens more times than I can count,” Jennifer Lynch, owner of Big Pine Campground in Custer, said. “People don’t realize how beautiful it is until they get here. The element of surprise kind of grabs people.”
And that beauty in turn creates the state’s second-largest industry, tourism, and generates one-third of the state’s revenue each year. Although in recent days politicians like U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson and Gov. Kristi Noem have had concerns about the closure of the Neiman Enterprises Saw Mill in Hill City and the loss of 110 jobs, the timber industry is not what is keeping the Black Hills region afloat.
Tourists generated $3.4 billion in 2020 and a record-breaking $4.1 billion in 2019. Tourism employs around 55,000 workers and brings over a billion dollars into their households, according to Secretary of Tourism Jim Hagen. “[Tourists] play a very, very important role in our economy,” Hagen told the Journal on Friday. Read more.