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SDCOA Returns to Capitol to Defend Private Campgrounds

The South Dakota Campground Owners Association (SDCOA) seeks to return to the Capitol today to defend the rights of private campground owners.

According to a report, it’s not the first time the public and private camping industry have been in the spotlight during this session. In the past, there were bills that sought to expand camping facilities at Custer State Park.

This issue concerns § 9-38-1, the state code for municipalities. It was initially written to permit the government to safeguard, enhance, and preserve the city’s streets and parks.

In 1990, lawmakers included provisions that municipal campgrounds could be built if nearby (15 miles) private campgrounds agree.

Senator Novstrup now seeks to modify the law to let government-owned campgrounds expand, despite the objections of nearby privately-owned campgrounds.

“Fifteen (miles) isn’t far enough. When I was a park owner, the county seat was 18 miles away. Its activities in the community’s venues brought guests. Had the municipality expanded its camping facilities, fewer would have needed my services, causing a negative impact to my private business,” SDCOA’s Executive Director and lobbyist, Mary Arlington said.

“Rural communities shouldn’t have a mindset that damages the private business owners. Even the two KOAs that were an hour on each side of me, their franchise agreements prevented me from becoming a KOA because those two parks owned the territory on either side of me. If KOA believes a park draws from 60 miles away, then 15 is too narrow. Why is the state considering weakening a bill with more and more exceptions?” she added.

In testimony before the Senate Local Government Committee, the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Novstrup, repeatedly and firmly advocated for the bill explaining how simple it is to obtain a license for a campground, and then immediately stop a municipality’s ability to expand their camping.

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Kimberly Cook
Kimberly Cook
February 23, 2024 9:58 pm

The SDCOA is highlighting the economic impact of private campgrounds on the state’s tourism. They propose adjustments for fair regulations, aiming to foster a well-rounded camping industry in South Dakota.

Olive Grove
Olive Grove
April 14, 2024 4:52 am
Reply to  Kimberly Cook

Private campgrounds bring a bunch of cash to our state – real boost for tourism, right? We gotta make sure the rules are fair for everyone. It’s like keeping a campfire burning bright without letting it get out of control.


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Hi, you might find this article from Modern Campground interesting: SDCOA Returns to Capitol to Defend Private Campgrounds! This is the link: https://moderncampground.com/usa/south-dakota/sdcoa-returns-to-capitol-to-defend-private-campgrounds/