Good Earth State Park at Blood Run
New in 2017 -
Good Earth Visitor Center
Good Earth State Park at Blood Run, southeast of Sioux Falls, is a National Historic Landmark significant for its history as a settlement for thousands of Native Americans. The landscape along the Big Sioux River made the area popular, and much of the landscape remains today. It derives its name from a late 17th century Oneota Culture Indian Village complex that covered up to 3000 acres spanning both sides of the Big Sioux River.
This is one of the oldest sites of long-term human habitation in the United States. The river, abundant wildlife, fertile flood plains, availability of pipestone (catlinite) and protection from winds made the area an important gathering place for seasonal ceremonies and a significant trading center for many tribal peoples from 1500 - 1700 A.D. By 1720, Blood Run was abandoned and remnants of this significant archaeological site were nearly forgotten. Blood Run is the largest Oneota cultural site discovered to date in the upper Midwest.
The same features that had attracted Indigenous Peoples to the site led to white settlement in the late 1800s. Some of the evidence of an earlier civilization was destroyed. Housing and commercial development eventually replaced some of the farm land. The core of the Landmark site, however, remained an agricultural island with old growth forests and acres of native prairie.
Archaeological and historic studies were conducted at Blood Run in the late 20th Century. Burial mounds, refuse pits and signs of earthen enclosures were identified. Some items of pottery, tools, trade goods and jewelry have been placed in safe keeping. The site was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970.
Trail: Guided nature hikes during summer. Hiking Trails, 3 scenic overlook platforms.
Facilities: Visitor Center (new in 2017), Vault Toilet, Drinking Water, Parking
Future Development Plans: Amphitheater, bridges across the Big Sioux River to Iowa sections of the park, and a ceremonial site on the Iowa side.