PIERRE, S.D. – Visitors of the Oahe Downstream Recreation Area near Fort Pierre have the opportunity to learn about the park’s winter residents and enjoy a snack on the 17th Annual “Eagles and Bagels” Walk in the Park on Saturday, Feb. 2.
“This is a good opportunity for participants to get out and enjoy our South Dakota winter and view our nation’s bird – the Bald Eagle,” said Pat Buscher, Oahe Downstream district supervisor.
Program attendees will learn about eagles from a program presentation and then have the opportunity to view and ask questions about the bald eagles on a guided walk.
The program begins at 9 a.m. CST at the Oahe Downstream Group Lodge. Information will be presented highlighting eagles, their habitat and tips and proper conduct for viewing and photographing.
The group will travel into the park for a 2-mile guided walk (weather permitting) to observe the birds in their natural setting. The hike will include a number of stops to view the birds and answer questions. Participants are encouraged to bring binoculars, cameras, comfortable hiking shoes and cold weather clothing.
Following the hike, guests are invited back to the lodge for snacks and refreshments sponsored by Lynn’s Dakotamart.
“Last year’s hike attendance was great,” said Buscher. “We pack the lodge nearly every year and enjoy seeing more families attend, as this walk is stroller-friendly.”
For those who are not sure they can complete the entire distance, a shuttle is available.
The Oahe Downstream campgrounds are currently closed to vehicle traffic to protect the roosting eagles. Walkers and cross-country skiers are allowed into these areas, although they must be careful not to disturb the roosting eagles. If disturbed, the eagles may abandon their roosts and use up valuable food reserves.
There is no charge for the guided walk, but a park entrance license is required. The new 2019 park entrance licenses are available at the park. For more information, call 605.223.7722.
The Oahe Downstream Recreation Area is located five miles north of Fort Pierre off SD highway 1806.