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Mellette County: Loyal to the Land


PIERRE, S.D. - Located in south-central South Dakota, Mellette County is largely dependent upon the land for both economic and recreational activities. Within its boundaries are the towns of Cedar Butte, Mosher, Norris, White River and Wood.

The county was named after Arthur C. Mellette, the first Governor of the state of South Dakota. In October 1885, Mellette was nominated for governor of Dakota Territory. The next month, he ran unopposed for the office. On November 2, 1889, President Benjamin Harrison signed the proclamation to make South Dakota the fortieth state. That same year, voters approved the new constitution for South Dakota and elected Mellette to serve as South Dakota's first Governor.

Mellette County derives more than just economic benefits from the land, as its location is perfect for some of the state’s best hunting and fishing, regardless of the season. For the fishing enthusiast, the White River is home to a plentiful crop of catfish, while the Little White River, a smaller tributary, offers crappie, northern pike and perch.

For the hunting enthusiast, Mellette County is located in South Dakota’s prime pheasant hunting territory, a season which extends from mid-October to early January. Other likely targets in this area are sharp-tailed grouse, antelope, turkey, prairie chickens and whitetail/mule deer.

An annual event in Mellette County is White River Frontier Days, which feature a powwow, rodeo, kids’ mutton busting, parades, dances, traditional food, an old fashioned wagon train and an arts festival. It will be held August 18-19, 2007.

The Uniquely South Dakota series is a project of the South Dakota Office of Tourism designed to highlight unique aspects and attractions in each of South Dakota’s 66 counties. This profile was researched and compiled by Jennifer Anderson, public relations intern for the Office of Tourism.


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