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County commissioners unhappy with Rounds plan to protect Bear Butte

Sturgis, South Dakota (AP) 1-08

Meade County commissioners say they are not happy about a plan by Gov. Mike Rounds to keep some land around Bear Butte out of development.

Rounds’ plan would use $250,000 in state money, to be matched with $344,000 in private donations and a $594,000 grant from a federal program that protects agricultural land, to buy a perpetual conservation easement on some ranch land on Bear Butte’s west side.

The ranch family could still use the land for agricultural purposes, but it could not be used for commercial or residential purposes. The easement also would mean the owners would continue to pay property taxes to Meade County and the local school district.

Rounds plan is aimed at preventing commercial and residential projects on land near Bear Butte.

American Indians have fought campgrounds, biker bars and other ventures that interfere with religious use of the mountain that they consider sacred.

The county commissioners say the land covered in the proposal is a small part of the nearly 25,000 acres that would need to be set aside to protect the entire area – and that taxpayer money shouldn’t be used.

 

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