Credit-card acceptance one of big changes as camping season begins

Camping season will begin this weekend in South Dakota with a great change: Credit cards will now be accepted for all state park and recreation-area fees, services and merchandise.

"This is a service that park users have been asking for," Lynn Spomer, visitor services coordinator for South Dakota State Parks, said this week in a news release. "We are happy to be able to better accommodate our customers."

Another change, according to the news release, is that reservations can now be made until noon Central Time and 11 a.m. Mountain Time the day of arrival and are free to South Dakota residents. Out-of-state campers will pay $7.70 for a reservation.

Other new features at state parks and recreation areas, according to the annual Park Times publication for 2009, include the following:

  • Gift cards are now available and are accepted for payment of state parks fees, merchandise and services.
  • Recycling bins are now available at several parks.
  • New deep-water marina at Spring Creek.
  • New camping cabins at Pickerel Lake, Lake Vermillion, Newton Hills and Custer State Park.
  • Stockade South campground in Custer State Park has added a new cabin loop with 13 cabins and will renovate and electrify the remainder of the camping pads.
  • New comfort stations at Pelican Lake, Union Grove and Spring Creek.
  • 30 campsites have been added at Pelican Lake, and the campsites at Pelican Lake and Shadehill have been re-numbered.
  • New picnic shelter at Newton Hills.
  • New play equipment at Oakwood Lakes.
  • New amphitheater at Lake Poinsett.
  • New 18-hole disc golf course at Big Sioux.
  • New fishing dock at Oahe Downstream.
  • New horseshoe pits at Oakwood Lakes and Pelican Lake.
  • Canoes are available to check out for a fee at Pickerel Lake.
  • The Custer State Park Game Lodge is undergoing an extensive renovation project which will improve access and service.
  • New basketball court at Lewis & Clark.
  • New boat ramp at Shadehill.
  • New fish cleaning station at Farm Island.
  • New accessible campsites at Farm Island and Newton Hills.
  • New amphitheater and a new handicap-accessible fishing dock at Angostura.
  • Enlarged parking lots near the boat ramps at Snake Creek and Platte Creek.
  • Lake Vermillion, Lake Poinsett, Oakwood Lakes and Lake Louise will take fall reservations for the first time in 2009.

For a full list of reservation rules and the 90-day reservation window calendar, visit

About Author

Seth Tupper

Seth Tupper was born and raised in South Dakota and earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from South Dakota State University in 2001. After college, he worked at a newspaper in Minnesota and then returned to South Dakota in 2003 to join the staff of The Daily Republic in Mitchell, where he is currently the publisher. Seth has won numerous awards for his writing, including the 2007 Outstanding Young Journalist award in the daily newspapers category of the South Dakota Newspaper Association's Better Newspapers Contest. Seth's day-job and freelance work have granted him opportunities to meet hundreds of South Dakotans and travel across much of the state. He also spends a lot of his free time exploring South Dakota's state and national parks, hiking trails and kayak-friendly rivers.


  1. Mike
    Mike 21 June, 2011, 17:58

    Will they be accepting credit card pre-pays for Cedar Pass campground in Badlands National Park? Thanks.

    Reply this comment
  2. Seth Tupper
    Seth Tupper 21 June, 2011, 18:01


    The information in this park only covers state parks. At this time, I don’t know of any credit-card policy changes at Badlands National Park. I do know that there is an automated fee machine at Cedar Pass campground.

    Here is some info about the campground that may be helpful:

    Cedar Pass Campground is operated by the National Park Service and is open year-round.

    * $10.00/night per sight
    * A 14-night limit applies during the summer.
    * All sites are filled on a first come, first served basis.
    * There are no shower facilities available.

    There are four group campsites that can be reserved in advance by calling (605) 433-5361 with a minimum fee of $25.

    Reply this comment
  3. Seth Tupper
    Seth Tupper 21 June, 2011, 18:01


    I just got this answer for you from a park official:

    “”We do not accept prepay for regular sites at the campground since it is first-come/first-served. We do accept it for group sites which need to be reserved in advance.

    Reply this comment
  4. Mike
    Mike 21 June, 2011, 18:02

    Thanks for the answer! I appreciate it.

    Reply this comment

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