How it began
With the help of a generous community advocate, Dr. Charles Loos , formerly of Chamberlain, the vision of Roam Free Park began. Dr. Charles Loos sold to the city the land north of Chamberlain in hopes of a worthy project for the community. With the land transaction, an agreement was established with the understanding that developments of the land exclude that of commercial or residential use and be used to preserve and thus expose the scenic beauty of the Chamberlain area. Due to the sheer immensities and beauty of the area, the land owner, Dr. Loos, hoped that the community would pull together and create a park designed to provide education and recreation for the many residents of the area and visitors to experience. In turn the Great Plains Resource Center board facilitated a fund drive to purchase this land from the city, to create present day Roam Free Park.
A non-profit board of citizens then was established to oversee the visionary park. Hiking and walking trails were developed along the bluffs overlooking the Missouri River featuring the plant and animal life that exists within the area. Referred to as the Great Plains Resource Center, Roam Free Park has also served as an outdoor arboretum classroom for the ecology of the area.
During the mid-90’s the Chamberlain area had many years of above normal precipitation. There was significant natural geologic shifting and moving of land near the Missouri River. This also affected the Roam Free Park area, as the trail system of the park was completely destroyed.
The citizens once again banded together and in the fall of 2004 construction was underway. Trails were rebuilt, benches were placed and public restrooms were added.
Various groups have contributed to make the project successful. Participants in the effort to restore Roam Free park include: Roam Free Park board, city of Chamberlain and Greg Powell, Modern Woodman of Chamberlain, Kiwanis Club of Chamberlain, Chamberlain FFA, Brule-Buffalo Conservation district and the Chamberlain-Oacoma Area Chamber of Commerce.
Now everyone can sit, relax and take in the breathtaking views of a South Dakota sunset over the Missouri River. Or enjoy a picnic under the shelter!