Recreation and Agriculture
Rural Fall River County is among the richest farming and ranching regions of South Dakota, thanks to the Angostura Irrigation District. Waters from the Cheyenne River are diverted to irrigate more than 12,000 acres of alfalfa, corn, wheat, barley, oats, pasture, and forage lands.
In addition, the Angostura Reservoir, just south of Hot Springs, provides outdoor recreation for the entire region. Angostura is well known for boating, swimming, fishing and camping. At 4,400 acres, it is one of the largest bodies of water in Western South Dakota.
The towns of Oral, Smithwick and Oelrichs are primarily farming and ranching communities. However, each town has rail service, via the southern leg of the Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern Railroad, which serves the Black Hills. The southern leg extends into Nebraska, where it connects to westbound train lines offering rail access to Denver and beyond.
In fact, this area’s history is closely tied to the nation’s railroading past. In the 1880s, the Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley Railway established a number of towns on the shoulder of the Black Hills as it extended its track to Rapid City and Deadwood.