Veterans fight to keep Civil War-era hospital open in South Dakota's picturesque Black Hills

Veterans in South Dakota are vehemently pushing back against a plan from federal officials to close a historic hospital campus in a remote corner of the Black Hills and relocate its services to a bigger city.

Officials with the Department of Veterans Affairs have proposed shuttering their Hot Springs campus at the historic Battle Mountain Sanitarium and transitioning their long-term care services to Rapid City.

Many of the region's veterans have longed pushed back against the restructuring, arguing the tranquil environment offered in a town of 3,500 people is crucial for vulnerable veterans and cannot be replicated outside of Hot Springs.

VA officials say moving the services north to Rapid City would help attract physicians, better accommodate female and single-parent veterans and link patients with job opportunities and occupational training.