PIERRE, S.D. – Earlier this month, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission denied a petition submitted by Cattail Land and Cattle Company, LLC, to restrict recreational use on portions of Cattail-Kettle Lake in Marshall county.
A contested case hearing was conducted on the morning of Nov. 2, 2017, in Brookings where the GFP Commission heard testimony from the petitioner requesting to close a 100 yard buffer zone surrounding their property from all recreational use.
The GFP Commission also heard testimony from other interested parties who were both in favor and opposed to the petition. They then considered evidence as it related to privacy, safety and substantially affected financial interests of the petitioner in addition to historical use of the waters, the water quality, water quantity and the public’s interest in recreational use of the water.
In failing to meet the burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence, the GFP Commission unanimously approved a resolution denying the petition. As a result, all portions of Cattail-Kettle Lake remain open to public recreational users.
About the Petition Process: In June 2017, during a special legislative session, the South Dakota Legislature adopted H.B. 1001 which allowed landowners who owned property underlying nonmeandered lakes the ability to close water overlying their property. Section 8 of the bill outlined specific nonmeandered lakes (e.g., Cattail-Kettle Lake) that would remain open to the public for recreational purposes. The Legislature tasked the GFP Commission to institute a process by which a landowner could petition the GFP Commission to request the ability to close their private property underlying a section 8 lake from recreational use. Cattail Land and Cattle Company, LLC, was the first petitioner to go through this process.