County eyes encroachment issues near Bear Butte 4-8-07

STURGIS, South Dakota (AP) - Two special committees have been formed in Meade County to study development issues around Ellsworth Air Force Base and Bear Butte.

Kirk Chaffee, Meade County equalization director, said a growth spurt is occurring along the Interstate 90 corridor.

Low land values around Ellsworth make the area attractive to people who work in Rapid City, he said.

And Chaffee said Sturgis is growing in the direction of Bear Butte, and that worries American Indians who consider the mountain sacred.

``Of course there are groups who believe it is more of a religious site than a state park and we would just like to sit down about what legally we could do. There is a separation between state and church but are there any other common goals of needs for the community around Bear Butte,'' Chaffee said.

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