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.
Rapid City Journal
by Abby Wargo
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.