CUSTER, S.D. – A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Tuesday at Veteran’s Point Trailhead at Pactola Reservoir to recognize a shared stewardship partnership between the Black Hills National Forest (BKNF) and the 28th Bomb Wing, Ellsworth Air Force Base (EAFB).
Airmen from EAFB will partner with the BKNF in a shared stewardship agreement to care for and maintain Veteran’s Point, located north of the dam on Pactola Reservoir. “Ellsworth is proud of its connection with the Black Hills community, and we strive to maintain that relationship, building upon it where we can. Adopting Veteran’s Point is a perfect example of what we can accomplish when we work together,” said Col. Derek Oakley, 28th Bomb Wing Commander, EAFB.
“The Black Hills National Forest is a very special place to many people, in many ways,” said Toni Strauss, Deputy Forest Supervisor, Black Hills National Forest. “We are honored to have the Airmen from Ellsworth Air Force Base adopt this location on the Forest, as a way to give back to their community, in a shared stewardship kind of way.”
Veteran’s Point Trail is a free-use half-mile trail, on the north side of the reservoir. It has a paved trail designed for accessibility for all users, including benches and tables for viewing the lake and surrounding area. There is also a shorter natural surface trail just south of the parking lot for quick access to the lakeshore and bridge for fishing and swimming.
Veteran’s Point Trail originated in 1989 through a partnership with the Disabled American Veterans (D.A.V.). The project was completed in 1999, in honor of our service men and women, for their sacrifice in keeping America free. Thousands of people visit this location each year to take a short hike along the lake, fish from the shore, enjoy a lakeside picnic or just relax on the benches and enjoy the beautiful scenery.