PIERRE, S.D. – The Verendrye Museum of Fort Pierre, a non-profit corporation, announces the opening of applications for an historic trail ride over the original Fort Pierre Deadwood Trail, 100 years after the trail was last used. The ride is being restricted to horse riders and animal-drawn wagons and buggies.
The ride will commence with a celebration in FortPierre on July 29, 2008, and end with a celebration in Deadwood on August 15, 2008. Participants not able to travel the entire 17-day ride may join and leave the ride as needed.
The trail was first used by Native Americans traveling from the Missouri River to the Black Hills. Following the Native Americans, fur trappers and cavalrymen used the trail. When gold was discovered in the Black Hills, freight was hauled from St. Louis to Pierre and FortPierre. The trail was then used to haul mining equipment, supplies and people to Deadwood. Millions of tons of freight were carried over the trail between 1876 and 1887. This was followed by settlers and homesteaders. It is thought that the use of the trail was discontinued in 1908 when settlers started fencing their land claims.
A large number of wagons and riders are expected and may have to be limited. It is suggested that applications for the ride be made soon.
The South Dakota State Archives staff are researching and preparing a map booklet. When completed, the map booklet will be made available for purchase at the State Archives. The map booklet will include historical plat maps of the trail. In addition, the trail route will be transposed on current highway maps.
For more information, including a brochure and ride application, contact Fort Pierre Development at (605) 223-7603 or write to PO Box 461, Fort Pierre, SD, 57532.