PIERRE - South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard has signed legislation creating South Dakota's first new state park since 1972.

The bill establishes a 615-acre state park at the Blood Run nature area along the Big Sioux River southeast of Sioux Falls.

It's the state's 13th state park.

Blood Run was designated a national historic landmark in 1970. The area along the Big Sioux River bordering Iowa was used by thousands of Oneota Indians into the early 1700s. The area includes a large oak forest, rolling hills, flood plains, riverside bluffs and burial mounds.

Daugaard says the site is culturally significant, and it's important to preserve it for future generations.

In addition, the governor signed a bill that provides $4 million to improve three parts of South Dakota's state park system.

The bill, proposed by the governor, sets aside $2 million the Blood Run Nature Area. Another $1.5 million will be used for improvements at the Custer State Park visitor's center.

And $500,000 will be used to extend the George S. Mickelson hiking and biking trail in the Black Hills to Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

The governor signed the parks funding bill Thursday as he was finishing work on bills passed by this year's Legislature.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.