South Dakota Division of Parks and Recreation Honors Employees

South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Officer Badge
South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Officer Badge

South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks

ABERDEEN, S.D. -( The South Dakota Division of Parks and Recreation recently recognized several individuals for their dedication and hard work in the state parks system. The awards were made at the division’s fall meeting in Aberdeen.

“This year’s honorees were all very deserving,” said Bob Schneider, assistant director of the Division of Parks and Recreation. “The dedication of those individuals can be seen in parks across the state and is enjoyed by the many visitors to South Dakota state parks and recreation areas each year.”

Mike Ullrich of Aberdeen and Jody Moats of North Sioux City received 2017 South Dakota State Parks Distinguished Service Awards. South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks employees who embody the mission of the state park system are selected for the honor.

Ullrich has served Richmond and Mina Lake Recreation Areas for nearly 40 years. According to the Division of Parks, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve park manager Jody Moats has made a big impact on her park since taking over in 2014.

Mark Robinson received an Award of Appreciation for serving a vital role as conservation technician at Palisades State park since 1990.

A Program Innovation Award was given to a group of individuals who implemented the Jay Heath Canoe and Kayak Trail on the Big Sioux River. The project took inventory of access sites, campsites and hazards along the trail, placed signs and developed an interactive web-based map.

Those involved with the project include district park supervisor Travis Theilen of Palisades State Park, district park supervisor Jason Bauman of Newton Hills State Park, Big Sioux Recreation Area park manager John Dummer, Good Earth State Park manager Jim Henning, Palisades State Park conservation technician Mark Robinson, and visitor services coordinator Lynn Spomer and GIS specialist Heather Berg both of Pierre.

Teamwork Awards were presented to two different groups. The first, to the staff involved with cleanup efforts at Pickerel Lake and Roy Lake. A Dec. 26, ice storm caused major damage to trees and knocked out electricity at both parks. The crew put in 760 hours of tree work in addition to their regular duties.

Team members include Lori Skadsen, Dan Grewing, George Flanery, Chris Soukup, Matt Nelson, Dalaine Pleinis, Steve Kurkowski, Jerry Amerman, Ed Babcock, Cameron Fischer, Richard Spurgin, Wayne Klungseth, Glen Lueck and John Wickre.

The second teamwork award recognized park employees involved in ongoing improvements to the state park camping reservation and point-of-sale system.

Team members include Willy Collignon, northeast regional park supervisor; Derek Dorr, Lake Vermillion park manager; Heath Stone, Sandy Shore park manager; Brandon Brake, Farm Island park manager; Katy Hiltunen, program assistant in the Pierre office; and Lindsey Hildebrant, Custer State Park business manager.

The 2017 Seasonal Employee of the Year Award was given to Hailee Eisenbeisz, who has been employed at Lake Poinsett Recreation Area near Arlington for the past three summers.

Jamie Richards earned the 2017 Volunteer Employee of the Year Award. Richards has taken on the role of volunteer coordinator at Good Earth State Park near Sioux Falls.


About The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks:

The purpose of the Department of Game, Fish and Parks is to perpetuate, conserve, manage, protect, and enhance South Dakota’s wildlife resources, parks, and outdoor recreational opportunities for the use, benefit, and enjoyment of the people of this state and its visitors, and to give the highest priority to the welfare of this state’s wildlife and parks, and their environment, in planning and decisions.

For more information, visit their website.

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