Daugaard: Hilger’s Gulch Getting A New Look


Hilger’s Gulch Getting A New Look

DaugaardPIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard is embarking on an initiative to bring back the native landscape of South Dakota to Hilger’s Gulch and save taxpayer money.“This is a planned transformation and it’s going to save us time and money,” Gov. Daugaard said. “On average the state has spent around $36,000 annually for irrigation and $23,000 annually for mowing, fertilizing and weed treatment. In dry years, the water bills have approached $50,000. We’re taking this project on as an effort to be better stewards of that money.”

For the project, the Governor selected vegetation that can thrive in the natural climate of central South Dakota. The new plant life is expected to save money over time because it will require less maintenance and will not necessitate the use of chemical herbicides.

The renovation will also serve to restore habitat in the area. Working with the South Dakota Bureau of Administration, Gov. Daugaard has strategically mapped out the placement of the various plants, trees and a meadow with purple, yellow and red wildflowers.

As part of the project, the Bureau of Administration will be developing hiking trails throughout the area. The Bureau will also continue to mow and water the outer perimeter of the gulch, including “Sled Hill” and Governor’s Grove.

“By returning to native plants, we will not only be save taxpayer dollars but also beautify the entire area. With the new gravel hiking trails, walkers will be able to see the plum trees, prairie roses, blue asters and cone flowers up close,” Gov. Daugaard said.

The details of the project were shared on Thursday, July 23, with the Capitol Complex Restoration and Beautification Commission.

The Bureau of Administration began the Hilger’s Gulch renovations this month by planting willow trees. More work will be undertaken this fall. The project is expected to be completed by the spring of 2017.

To see a map of the project, go to news.sd.gov/mediacontent.aspx?id=8&media=photo.


12 thoughts on “Daugaard: Hilger’s Gulch Getting A New Look”

  1. The hardest part of Gov. Daugaard’s day is trying to make his proper progressive Democrat leaning ideas sound like selfish, help the rich first plans that the Hay-Billy coalition will swallow without our good liberal craft beers.

    1. porter when your not posting here are you arguing with telephone poles in Littleton?

      1. It’s spelled you’re. It’s a contraction of you and are. Your means it belongs to me.

  2. You sure sound like an elitist with your “Hay-Billy” terminology, Port-air. You are a typical leftist thinking you are the smartest kid in the class when you are actually not.

    1. A lot of kids made fun of your name, didn’t they? That’s why you won’t use it here and like to make fun of others names? I bet your name is so funny you wish it was different, huh? lol lol lol Go ahead. Don’t be afraid of me.

  3. I’m so glad that the governor is tackling the serious stuff, like where to put the various sagebrush plants and how many willow trees to place through the gulch.

    Most executives schedule their time in terms of which tasks are most important. I guess the governor has all the tougher problems solved, so he can now spend his time on horticulture. Awesome job, Gov!

  4. Hilger’s Gulch is named after one of the founders/earliest settlers of Pierre. Hilger was a master marketer of the area and had some positive impact on both the growth of Pierre and its ultimately becoming the Capitol.

    By legend, it has some historical significance. Before the Battle of the Little Bighorn, Custer and his calvary wintered on LaFromboise Island (wooded island in the river at the Southwest corner of current Pierre or east of Ft. Pierre, which formerly was a French fort but now was a trading post). Unbeknownst to Custer, Lakota scouts spent the winter in Hilger’s Gulch where they were able to be out of the wind in a grove of trees and hunt without ever being detected and monitor Custer.

    The reason I say legend is I was told this not by adults but by my friends in Jr. High who told when they had spent a few nights sleeping in a tent on the north end of Hilger’s Gulch pretending they were Indians and during the night would walk along the creek that meandered through what is now Capitol Lake down to the river and back. As I think my brother did this and I know my son did this, I have it in my head it was a “right of passage” of 6th grade boys growing up in Pierre.

    Sidenote: I seem also to remember that when Hilger’s Gulch was taken over by the State and the walking paths were built, boys sleeping on the north end and even lighting campfires ended.

    Pat, does this strike anything in your memories or legends you were told?

  5. Renegade your plan makes much more sense than the Govs. I think spending $100,000.00 a year plus more for inflation every year took some real deep thinking on your part .

  6. While I usually agree with the Governor, this is a terrible plan and will ruin one of the most beautiful areas in Pierre. Will it really save much money (once you pay for the consultant, all the buffalo grass seed, various plants and new trail material)? If it is a success, what next? The front lawn of the Capitol?

  7. I just don’t like this idea at all. The landscape there is DOMINATED by natural dry ground areas right now. To the north and east, there are acres and acres of those areas which rise above the narrow strip of green leading to the Capitol. While the contrast isn’t as stark this year due to the rains starting in May, the drought just this last spring should remind us of how dry and dirty Pierre can look. The oasis of lush green grass there in Hilgers Gulch is one of the few in our city and should be preserved. I don’t like this plan at all.

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