Spearfish Canyon Foundation
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Save the Canyon from the Mountain Pine Beetle

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The Spearfish Canyon Foundation was established in 1989 through a generous gift from Homestake Mining Company to continue land stewardship of the canyon landscape.


Its mission is to preserve Spearfish Canyon as a lasting legacy by promoting natural and cultural history, appreciation of the environment, responsible public access, and funding to enhance the infrastructure and ecology.

It encourages and helps fund projects ranging from wildlife habitat, byway beautification and hiking trails to interpretation and land conservancy.

Its Role

The capabilities of the Foundation have been dynamic in its growth, scope and purpose. Its long-range vision and strategy incorporates a substantial amount of strategic planning, stakeholder coordination, public consensus, and social policy development. Like the Mt. Rushmore Society, the role of the Spearfish Canyon Foundation is to support meaningful federal and state programs that benefit the public and its public lands through thoughtful pursuit.


Spearfish Canyon is a unique and ancient geologic formation hosting many exceptional botanical displays. The imprint of civilization has provided a richness of historical Canyon events. The public enjoyment of the enchanting landscape is enhanced by the unusual access of a public highway through the spin of the canyon corridor paralleling the meandering fresh water fisheries of Spearfish Creek.

This scenic and unique terrain offers a convenient escape to the great outdoors and has become the fourth most popular tourist destination in the Black Hills. In recent times, demand for development and recreation is concerning, and may cause irreparable harm in time if affirmative actions are not considered. Continued enjoyment of the landscape into the future is predicted on a thoughtfully crafted balance between structures to accommodate public access and management of the natural environment.

Land ownership is the cornerstone in maintaining the Canyon's scenic values and environmental qualities that, in turn, perpetuate the public demand. The Land Trust's goal is to create a land position of public ownership to effectively address the growing recreational demand and avoid the typical sprawl of urban development that has diminished so many American landscapes.

Encouraged by the progress of the Land Trust, the Foundation has commenced conceptual development of the first affirmative Master Plan for Spearfish Canyon.


Current income to the Foundation includes earnings from an Endowment Fund. It has successfully raised over $42,000 in membership donations from its expanding ‘Friends of Spearfish Canyon’ program, and spent over $175,000 in Foundation funds. The Foundation has received over $163,000 in matching grants, and nearly $162,000 in private and in-kind support in partnership projects with the United States Forest Service, SD Game, Fish & Parks Department, the NCCC, AmeriCorp program, and other public and private entities. Since 1994, combined cultural, environmental, and wildlife projects completed by the Foundation total $410,000. In the $1.8-M Canyon land conservancy project, the Foundation has raised, to date, nearly $420,000 in its goal of $550,000, and assisted in the $1-M LWCF congressional appropriation, and two small-tract USFS grants totaling $243,000.