It’s one of Spearfish’s oldest standing historic
sites, but due to national budget cuts, the DC Booth Historic Fish
Hatchery could be shutting down on October 1st.
"I'm impressed by how pretty it is, and how nice it is, and the fact
that it's been here for so long," says Gerry Sloat, a first time visitor
to the hatchery. And for 117 years the DC Booth Fish Hatchery has been
breeding countless trout and inviting many visitors to see the fish up
close. But due to recent federal budget cuts, this hatchery may be one
of many across the nation that will have to shut down by summer's end.
"I would hate to see that happen to the Spearfish community. And it's
been a lot of years I've taken my kids that are now grown and have
their own kids and they've gone and taken so many friends. In fact I'm
thinking of a time that my son and a good friend of his, we took a
tremendous amount of pictures there that are now in picture albums. And
it would be sad if had to go," says Karen Lockheart, a Hermosa native
and supported of Spearfish’s hatchery.
And much of the Black Hills community agrees, saying
they would be devastated if the hatchery were to shut down. Not only
because of the importance the hatchery plays in the local fishing
industry, but the educational value the historic site offers as well.
Jim Dillavou is a retired employee of the hatchery, "Just the fact
that the hatchery is supporting our lakes and streams around the area is
huge. And I think it helps young children to get to know Mother Mature a
little closer. So it's a great beginning for a lot of children too."
Lackheart adds, "I like to take the kids up there, especially during
the park, the fair that they have in Spearfish. And pretty much anytime
we go to Spearfish we try to go over to that park and walk along the
"They're having a great time feeding the fish and impressed with how
big they are. We'll get down stairs and look at the viewing window in a
little bit and then they can really be excited,” says Sloat.
So the hatchery and the community started thinking of a way to "save our hatchery"
"We all need to be reaching out to our political leaders and start
campaigning to keep this open and keep this running." Dillavou says.
Representative Kristy Noem is hosting a town hall
meeting in Spearfish on Friday, and community members are encouraged to
attend and voice their opinions about the important of the fish
"I am impressed. It'd be fun to catch a couple like that," Sloat says in regards to the size of the fish.
If you’d like to know more information about the campaign to save the
hatchery, you can go to the hatchery website at dcboothfishhatchery.org