Future of Lake Hiddenwood Recreation Area in doubt

SELBY, S.D. (AP) — The future of South Dakota’s Lake Hiddenwood Recreation Area is in doubt after a request for federal funding to restore its dam was denied.

State officials sought a federal disaster declaration for the Selby park after heavy rains washed out its dam last year, causing Lake Hiddenwood to empty, Aberdeen American News reported.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency denied the park’s request for federal assistance, said Al Nedved, assistant director of the state Division of Parks and Recreation.

“So that basically leaves no federal assistance available to do any restoration work at Lake Hiddenwood,” he said.

The state has no plans to repair or restore the dam, Nedved said.

He said severe damage from the May 2018 storm, which dumped up to 10 inches of rain in Walworth County, “would likely require a complete rebuilding of the dam and even some additional work in the lake bottom as well.”

Many residents are in support of maintaining some level of recreational facilities in the area, but Nedved said the state has few options without funding.

“A lot of folks are very disappointed that there is no ability to restore the dam,” he said. “But folks are open to continuing the dialogue to see what we can do to make the area usable again.”

Nedved said state officials are also meeting with the National Guard about alternatives for the dam.