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Thank a SD landowner for outdoor opportunities

A report last week from the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Department showed the great contributions outdoor and wildlife recreation bring to South Dakota.

An estimated $1.33 billion was spent on outdoor recreation last year in South Dakota, with the top three activities — hunting, fishing and state park visitation — accounting for nearly 90 percent of the total.

The study also reported that South Dakota's outdoor activities provide roughly 18,000 full- and part-time jobs for $520 million of income. GF&P estimates the economic impact to South Dakota at nearly $1.9 billion.

This report is great news. And it shows the importance these hobbies are for our state's economy.

But it's the landowners who need to be credited for our state's many great available outdoor experiences. If it wasn't for their practices and their appreciation for wildlife, our state wouldn't be an outdoor paradise.

The vast multitude of agricultural acreage make South Dakota a hunting hotspot. Each year, we ask landowners to consider putting some of their property into conservation to give wildlife a place to live, and many choose to utilize the conservation reserve programs.

What we get in return is outstanding pheasant, waterfowl, turkey and other hunting opportunities.

Several of South Dakota's flooded ponds and lakes are an angler's dream — and in some cases that's because of lease agreements with private landowners who give access to these bodies of water to the public.

Many, many private landowners in South Dakota are willing to let people on their property to hunt and fish. A lot of times they do it expecting nothing in return.

As outdoor enthusiasts, it's important to stop and realize why South Dakota is a desired location to hunt and fish. It's because of the landowners.

That's why we all need to be more appreciative to the people who provide us a place to hunt and fish.

Remember to thank a landowner if they've given you access to their property. Thank a landowner if they set aside acreage for wildlife.

We love our outdoor activities in South Dakota, and we wouldn't have the available opportunities if it wasn't for the landowners.