Editorial: Support protections for Bear Butte
"Yes, Bear Butte is considered a religious site by many Native Americans, but it is also a state park, a national landmark and a unique place that holds great significance, including spiritual significance, for people of all races, cultures and religions.

Because it is all those things to all those people, the Legislature is shortsighted not to endorse Gov. Mike Rounds’ effort to purchase a perpetual conservation easement for about $1.2 million on 700 acres of private land near the base of Bear Butte.

Rounds is not protecting a church or a specific religion with his plan, which was rejected by the state House of Representatives on Wednesday. He is protecting a state park. In the process, he is protecting the interests of all South Dakotans.

It is imperative that the state prohibit commercial and housing development that close to a state park, whether it be encroachment from Sturgis Rally-related bars and campgrounds or million-dollar private homes built to capture a stunning view. We think purchasing that kind of guarantee in perpetuity for just $250,000 in state funds is a bargain to boot."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Bear Butte deserves protection (The Rapid City Journal 2/19)

Relevant Links:
Bear Butte International Alliance - http://matopaha.org/wp
Defenders of the Black Hills - http://www.defendblackhills.org

Related Stories:
South Dakota governor seeks to protect Bear Butte (12/17)
Prayer planned at Bear Butte during biker rally (7/26)
Bar near sacred Bear Butte a headache for owner (6/19)
Owner of bar near Bear Butte faces unpaid bills (06/06)
Views: Middle school students debate Bear Butte (04/16)
Bill to create Bear Butte alcohol buffer zone killed (02/14)
Bill to ban new bars near Bear Butte considered (2/9)
Bill to block new liquor licenses near Bear Butte killed (2/1)
Bill would bar new liquor licenses by Bear Butte (1/29)