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From: Nancy Hilding n.hilding@icloud.

Subject: HB 1175 - Please Oppose Funding for the Mount Rushmore- Mickelson Trail Connector Trail
Date: February 9, 2022 at 9:35 PM

Nancy Hilding
Prairie Hills Audubon Society
P. O. Box 788
Black Hawk, SD 57718
February 9th , 2022

Dear Representatives of House Transportation

Please oppose HB 1175 - A bill to fund the proposed Connector Trail from the Mickelson Trail to Mt Rushmore.

We write in opposition to this bill. Prairie Hills Audubon Society is SD non-profit corporation whose mission is to
educate about, protect and restore our environment and natural heritage. Our members live mostly in western

We have opposed the Connector Trail for something like 13 years, since the Feasibility Study done by Wyss
Associates. We wish to see the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve protected from the proposed trail. We believe that the
route is poorly conceived; putting walkers or bikers to elevation changes that make the experience too
physically challenging and requiring large expenditures of money with either road widening or cantilevered trail

The preferred trail route would go in part, through the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve (NWP). The NWP was set up
by Congress in the Norbeck Organic Act of 1920, which states that the NWP is to be managed “for the
protection of game animals and birds and be recognized as a breeding place therefor.” The US Tenth Circuit
Court of Appeals has determined in 2001 that: “…as a matter of law the NFMA (National Forest Management
Act) is supplemental or subordinate to the specific mandate of the Norbeck Act.”

We don’t believe the preferred route can be legally built unless the proponents can get the Federal Congress to
amend the Norbeck Organic Act. Planning on that ​is speculative and wishful thinking.

The Forest Service started NEPA five years ago and has not released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement
yet. Appropriations should not proceed with funding this project without testimony from the Black Hills National
Forest and the Mt Rushmore National Monument staff, which both must do NEPA documents. Ask them how
this can be legally done and when they will complete the DEIS. We think GFP should be asked to testify. We
thought this was being pitched as being paid for by private donors, not public money.

This is a poorly conceived project, with legal problems not likely to be resolved soon. Appropriations should wait
to see if proponents can get the Federal Congress to amend the Norbeck Organic Act. Environmentalists will
fight that in DC.

We are absolutely amazed that the proponents asked for an emergency clause on this bill.

Thank you,

Nancy Hilding

Nancy Hilding
6300 West Elm, Black Hawk, SD 57718
Prairie Hills Audubon Society
P.O. Box 788, Black Hawk, SD 57718
605-787-6779, does not have voice mail
605-787-6466, has voice mail
605-787-2806, cell (rarely used)
Skype phone & name -605-787-1248, nancy.hilding

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