Stevens graduate’s legacy lives in new park

Park endeavors to bring visitors closer to nature, environment

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Two years after the untimely death of a Rapid City Stevens High School graduate, his legacy lives on.

Craig and Jane Pfeifle, parents of Tom Pfeifle, who died in a hiking accident in 2016, help cut the ribbon officially opening the Tom Pfeifle Trails at Raider Park near Rapid City Stevens High School. Photo Date: Oct. 24, 2018.

Craig and Jane Pfeifle help cut the ribbon opening the Tom Pfeifle Trails at Raider Park.

Tom Pfeifle, a 2015 Stevens High School graduate and outdoor enthusiast, died after a hiking accident in Montana in 2016.

After Seth Keene, a math teacher at Stevens, learned that 38 acres of land adjacent to the high school was city property, he and another teacher chose to honor Pfeifle’s memory with a hiking and biking park.

Pfeifle loved the outdoors and environmental preservation, and Pfeifle’s parents hope that all who enjoy the park walk away with a closer relationship with nature and the environment around them.

A new sign welcomes visitors to the Tom Pfeifle Trails at Raider Park near Rapid City Stevens High School. Photo Date: Oct. 24, 2018.

A new sign welcomes visitors to the Tom Pfeifle Trails at Raider Park.

“What I hope they take away is his commitment to the environment,” said Jane Pfeifle, Tom’s mother. “He was dedicated to preserving the wilderness and preserving public places. He never went for a hike where he didn’t come home with trash that he picked up and bottles that he recycled.

“I hope people think about that. I hope they understand how great it feels to be physically active and to really enjoy this beautiful place that we live in,” Pfeifle continued.

The park has been created with the support of local businesses and organizations including the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, FMG Engineering, RCS Construction and the South Dakota National Guard.

With those contributions, along with $60,000 raised by Tom Pfeifle Memorial, Inc., it is expected that no taxpayer dollars will be used to support and maintain the park.

Categories: Local News