Custer State Park
Custer State Park is a state park and wildlife reserve in the Black Hills of southwestern South Dakota, USA. The park is South Dakota's largest and first state park, named after Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer. The area originally started out as sixteen sections, but was later changed into one block of land because of the challenges of the terrain. The park began to grow rapidly in the 1920s and gained new land. During the 1930s the Civilian Conservation Corps built miles of roads, laid out parks and campgrounds, and built three dams that set up a future of water recreation at the park. In 1964 an additional 22,900 acres were added to the park. The park covers an area of over 71,000 acres of hilly terrain and is home to many wild animals.
The park is home to a famous herd of 1500 free roaming bison. Elk, mule deer, white tailed deer, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, mountain lions, and feral burros also inhabit the park. The park is famous for its scenery, its scenic drives (Needles Highway and the wildlife loop), with views of the bison herd and prairie dog towns. This park is easily accessible by road from Rapid City. Other nearby attractions are Wind Cave National Park, Mount Rushmore, Jewel Cave National Monument, Crazy Horse Memorial, and Badlands National Park.
The popularity of the park grew in 1927, when U.S. President Calvin Coolidge made it his "summer White House" and announced from the Black Hills that he would not seek a second full term in office in the election of 1928.