With about 1,400 bison, miles and miles of hiking trails, and 71,000 acres of wildlife and scenic terrain, Custer State Park has many things to offer nature lovers.
As the park’s visitor services program manager, a position he has held for the last three and a half years, Kobee Stalder oversees marketing and communications efforts to showcase all that the destination has to offer to its guests.
Stalder shares a glimpse into his love of visitors, his wife’s favorite restaurant, and how to spend time at the park.
“We are actually pretty spoiled to live where we do.”
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF YOUR JOB?
It’s hard to narrow it down to just one thing. This job provides such a variety of work that I get to do something new and different almost every day. But if I had to pick, I would say the visitors you get to meet in the park. They really make you feel appreciated [with] the work you do.
HOW DID A DEGREE IN JOURNALISM LEAD YOU HERE?
I actually worked in communications in college athletics for 10 years before I took this position. In a way, the experience I gained from that suited me perfectly for this job. We were always trying to reach new fans and always enhance our fans’ experiences. We try to do the same thing at Custer State Park: increase our visitation and constantly enhance our visitor experience.
PERUSE THE PARK
Custer State Park has a range of activities that Stalder loves:
>> 9 campgrounds
>> 4 resorts
>> 5 lakes
>> The Black Hills Playhouse
>> Nearly 100 miles of hiking trails
>> Scenic drives
WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO GO IN CUSTER?
There are so many amazing businesses, a wide variety of restaurants, and Custer is surrounded by awesome parks. You can literally drive 10 minutes and see buffalo, explore a cave, or be surrounded by forest. My wife really enjoys Maria’s Mexican Restaurant in town, so I should probably mention that.
HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR FREE TIME?
Free time? Most of it is spent wrangling three young kids at home, but we do enjoy getting outside, hiking, and exploring the Black Hills.
WHAT AT THE PARK DO PEOPLE NOT OFTEN THINK ABOUT?
We have something here for almost everyone. We hear it all the time: “I didn’t realize there was so much to do here,” or “I wish we had more time to explore the park.” You could spend a week here and still not get to do everything you wanted.