The state of South Dakota has entered into a settlement agreement with the state of Nebraska and federal authorities to resolve a dispute over a 500-acre strip of land in the Missouri River named Goat Island.

The ownership of Goat Island, located on the South Dakota-Nebraska border adjacent to Clay County, South Dakota, has been in dispute since 1999. Imprecise mapping and the Missouri River’s changing boundaries have previously made its ownership unclear.

Under the new agreement, the National Park Service will manage the island as part of the Missouri National Recreation River.

“Goat Island has been a ‘no man’s land’ on the Missouri River for too long, and people could not take advantage of the ample hunting, fishing, hiking and biking opportunities available there,” said Gov. Dennis Daugaard. “Taking care of this island is long overdue.”

“For too many years, the federal government, South Dakota and Nebraska, have been engaged in disagreement on jurisdiction over Goat Island. It is time to set aside these differences in the interests of our citizens, and work together to provide certainty for the future management and enjoyment of this island,” added Marty Jackley, South Dakota Attorney General.

The National Park Service plans to enhance the island’s recreation opportunities, protect its primitive resources and lead a cleanup effort. The Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service intend to coordinate closely with the states of South Dakota and Nebraska regarding the development of desired future conditions and management of the island, including hunting opportunities.

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