Reclamation Seeking Public's Help on Vandalism at Belle Fourche Reservoir

Media Contact: Patience Hurley, (701) 221-1204, phurley@usbr.gov
Jay Leasure, (605) 394-9757, jleasure@usbr.gov

For Release: April 12, 2017

RAPIC CITY, S.D. -- The Bureau of Reclamation is seeking assistance from the public with information regarding recent vandalism incidents at Belle Fourche Reservoir. In March, 2017, Reclamation and the South Dakota Game Fish and Parks discovered several incidents of vandalism near the Off Road Vehicle Use Area on the northeast side of Belle Fourche Reservoir.

"A party in the Little Deadwood Area left a large pile of trash and chopped down a mature juniper tree, the vault toilet at the entrance to the ORV area was damage as well with the grab bars inside the facility torn off the wall and disposed of in the bottom of the vault and the window was broken out," said Jay Leasure, Natural Resource Specialist. "Just south of there, fence was cut and unauthorized vehicles accessed the South Dakota Game Fish and Parks Wildlife Management Area below Belle Fourche Dam. In addition, a Butte County Historical Society monument in the WMA parking lot was damaged as well. It appears that the monument was shot with a firearm."

Reclamation and SDGFP personnel picked up the trash at Little Deadwood and repaired the WMA parking lot fence. Repairs will be made to the vault toilet as time and funding permits. It is unknown at this time if the Butte County Historical Society monument will be repaired or replaced.

Public use of the lands at Belle Fourche Reservoir is free of charge with the exception of Rocky Point State Recreation Area. Reclamation is committed to continually upgrading facilities and services at the Reservoir, however the money it takes to repair and replace existing facilities due to vandalism reduces the operating budget, which is minimal to begin with since there are no fees charged. Reclamation is fortunate to utilize the South Dakota Army National Guard, the Montana Conservation Corps, local Eagle Scouts and other volunteers to accomplish projects at the Reservoir with little to no costs. It is unfortunate that a few bad apples take no pride in these no-fee facilities and the amount of volunteer-donated time it takes to provide these facilities.

Reclamation's See-N-Say Program signs are posted throughout the reservoir and the public is urged to report any suspicious activity to the See-N-Say hotline at 1-888-748-7220 or email at seensay@usbr.gov. A reward may be offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction. The public is also encouraged to report any illegal activity to Butte County Sheriff Dispatch at 605-892-2737. The public is the best resource Reclamation has when it comes to preventing criminal activity. Please report any suspicious or criminal activity and if at all possible include; license plate numbers, vehicle descriptions, identifying characteristics of individuals, or any other information that could be useful in identifying the persons. Unfortunately if the vandalism continues Reclamation will be forced to close certain areas or facilities at the Reservoir.

Butte County Historical Society monument vandalism

Butte County Historical Society monument vandalism

ORV Area Vault Toilet vandalism

ORV Area Vault Toilet vandalism

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier in the United States, and the nation's second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at https://www.usbr.gov and follow us on Twitter @USBR.

Relevant Link:

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