Mark the Sixtieth Anniversary of Sputnik at Minuteman Missile National Historic Site

Superintendent Eric Leonard displays a LEGO Sputnik model in front of an exhibit panel. Photo: NPS

September 18, 2017

Cactus Flat, SD –  “Beep. Beep. Beep.” The signal from the Soviet satellite known as Sputnik terrified Americans in the fall of 1957 and changed the world. If the Russians could put a satellite into space, it stood to reason that they could launch a nuclear missile to the United States. The launch of the world’s first satellite on October 4, 1957 jump started the space race and would lead directly to the beginning of the Air Force’s Minuteman missile program one year later.

On Saturday, October 7th, 2017, the park will mark the 60th anniversary of Sputnik’s launch into orbit with a series of events at the Visitor Center.  Visitors of all ages can become Junior Missileers by making and launching paper rockets from 10:00 a.m. to noon.

Through the generous support of Eastern National, the park will also offer a unique Build-A-Sputnik activity. Visitors will also be able to take home their own LEGO Sputnik model on a first come, first served basis as the free kit is available in a limited quantity.

At 11:30 a.m. a special program, “Sputnik: The ‘Beep’ that changed the World,” will occur in the Visitor Center Theater. This program will explore the missile programs of both the USSR and US prior to the launch of Sputnik and how this one launch triggered both the Nuclear Arms and Space Races.

Twice during the day a special two-part program, “Care and Feeding of Minuteman Missiles” will begin at the Visitor Center Theater at 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.  This program will also include the opportunity to join a past missile maintainer at the Delta-09 silo for questions and answers at 10:30 a.m. and again at 2:30 p.m.

During the orbit anniversary of Sputnik, from October 4 through January 4, a special national park Passport stamp will also be available in the Visitor Center.

Minuteman Missile National Historic Site’s headquarters and visitor center is located off of exit 131, Interstate 90. The park consists of three sites along a fifteen mile stretch of Interstate 90 in Western South Dakota. Authorized by Congress in 1999, Minuteman Missile National Historic Site preserves components of the Minuteman II intercontinental ballistic missile system, interpreting the deterrent value of the land-based portion of America’s nuclear defense during the Cold War era and commemorating the people and events associated with this recent period of American history. The park is open daily 8:00 a.m.  to 4:00 p.m. except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. More information about the park can be found on the internet at www.nps.gov/mimi or by phone at: 605-433-5552. Visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ MinutemanMissileNHS and Twitter at https://twitter.com/mimi_ ranger

Moon Walk Hosts Star Party on Autumnal Equinox

 

Rapid City, SD — The Black Hills National Forest will hold its final Moon Walk program of the year with the start of the autumnal equinox. Celebrate the equinox with an astronomy night just south of Deerfield Reservoir on Saturday, September 23 at 7:00 p.m. This 3/4 mile round trip hike on a two track road with little elevation gain will take place on the south side of Hat Mountain.

Featured speaker Dr. Brianna Mount, Assistant Professor of Physics from Black Hills State University will discuss constellations visible in the September night sky. Participants will learn tricks to finding and identifying constellations such as Pegasus, Ursa Majora and Bootes as well as stars such as those in the Summer Triangle and Polaris. Two 8” telescopes will be set up and used during the presentation. These will be used to gain a closer look at galaxies and other items of interest in the fall sky. Many night sky objects can also been seen through binoculars, and a small amount will be available, but participants are also encouraged to bring their own!

Downloading mobile applications for smart phones helps visitors connect with the forest and understand the topic. The featured mobile app this month is called “Star Chart”. The app is free and it allows users to point their phones up at the night sky and easily identify constellations and stars.

“The new Black Hills National Forest mobile app allows visitors to learn more about the Forest,” says Amy Ballard, Moon Walk Coordinator. “Avenza maps is another free mobile app that has Motor Vehicle Use Maps. These maps are very helpful in finding your way around and are available for each district on the Black Hills National Forest,” says Ballard.

To reach the Moon Walk travel west 15 miles on the Deerfield Highway from the Hill City Exxon Station.  Turn left or south on Williams Draw Road (FSR691) and travel .8 miles to FS Trail 6071.  Turn right and travel south another .8 miles to the parking area that is located .1 mile past the interpretive sign.  Signs will be posted at major intersections to guide visitors to the parking area once you leave the Deerfield Highway. Wildlife and raptors are commonly seen along this route so give yourself enough time to enjoy the forest.  Visitors might also like to arrive a couple hours early and take a self-guided, cross country hike to the top of Hat Mountain for a panoramic view of the surrounding area.

Visitors are encouraged to bring flashlights, water, and bug repellant and dress for cooler evening temperatures.  Long pants and sturdy footwear (hiking boots or athletic shoes) are recommended for your comfort and safety while hiking on uneven terrain.

The program may be cancelled unexpectedly for unforeseen reasons such as lightning, high fire danger forecasts and other reasons beyond our control. The program will not be cancelled due to rain unless lightning is spotted.  Please arrive early to aid us in parking vehicles as over 125 visitors per walk have been attending the programs.

For further information on the Moon Walk, contact Amy Ballard, Program Coordinator, at (605) 343-1567.

For more information on the Black Hills National Forest, visit, http://www.fs.usda.gov/blackhills or call (605) 673-9200. 

2017 Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup

2016 Buffalo Roundup. Photo: Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press

By Gov. Dennis Daugaard
September 15, 02017

On Friday morning, Sept. 29, a few dozen cowboys will put on their boots and saddle their horses. Custer State Park employees will arise before dawn. And thousands from across the state, country and world will gather, all to continue a 52-year tradition.

The Buffalo Roundup is an experience unlike any other. You can feel the ground shake as over 1,000 half-ton creatures stampede across the prairie. Watching the brave riders drive the beasts to their destination is quite incredible. Witnessing the buffalo’s power and speed from such a short distance creates a feeling of being back in the Old West.

At one time, there were about 60 million buffalo roaming North America, but that number fell to fewer than 2,000 in the early twentieth century. Although population levels are nowhere near the historical peak, South Dakota buffalo have made a comeback from near extinction, thanks in part to Custer State Park.

Riders will round-up a herd of 1,300 buffalo on Sept. 29, after which about four days are needed to work the herd. Volunteers will vaccinate and brand the calves, check the cows for pregnancy and identify 250 buffalo for November’s sale.

After the Friday morning Roundup, visitors can stay for lunch and watch the volunteers work the herd. There will be plenty of things to do for those who decide to stay for the weekend.  The Arts Festival will continue through Saturday, the exhibits at the newly renovated Peter Norbeck Education Center will be open, and Crazy Horse Memorial visitors will be permitted to hike to the arm of the mountain carving during an organized Volksmarch on Sunday.

The Roundup is something every South Dakotan should see at least once. People from all over the world come for this one-of-a-kind experience because there’s nothing like it anywhere else. Consider making this worthwhile journey. I hope to see you there!

Preservation Work To Temporarily Suspend Delta-01 Tours at Minuteman Missile National Historic Site

Photo:NPS

September 1, 2017

Cactus Flat, SD – The Delta-01 Launch Control Facility will be closed to public tours for two months, beginning Monday, September 18, 2017 to allow replacement of critical infrastructure.

During the closure of Delta-01, visitors will be able to visit the Delta-09 missile silo and the visitor center during their regularly scheduled hours. Beginning September 18, 2017 and throughout the remainder of the month, ranger programs will be held in the visitor center theater twice daily at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. A ranger program will be conducted at the Delta-09 missile silo daily at 2:00 p.m.

The closure of Delta-01 is to allow for a complete replacement of the fire suppression system inside the historic structure. The existing system utilizes components original to the building that were installed during its construction in 1962 and have aged well beyond their intended operational lifespan. “This project is necessary to ensure the building and all the historic artifacts within remain protected so we can safely continue to offer public tours now and into the future,” said Superintendent Eric Leonard, “We regret the inconvenience to the visiting public during the fall season.” To stay informed about this project and other news about Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, the public can visit our Facebook page or the park website for more information.

Minuteman Missile National Historic Site’s headquarters and visitor center is located off of exit 131, Interstate 90. The park consists of three sites along a fifteen mile stretch of Interstate 90 in Western South Dakota. Authorized by Congress in 1999, Minuteman Missile National Historic Site preserves components of the Minuteman II intercontinental ballistic missile system, interpreting the deterrent value of the land-based portion of America’s nuclear defense during the Cold War era and commemorating the people and events associated with this recent period of American history. The park is open daily 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. More information about the park can be found on the internet at www.nps.gov/mimi or by phone at: 605-433-5552. Visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MinutemanMissileNHS and Twitter at https://twitter.com/mimi_ranger

September is Passport Awareness Month

September 1, 2017

September is Passport Awareness Month. The U.S. Department of State is launching an awareness campaign to educate and inform travelers about upcoming changes to travel identification requirements for domestic flights.

Prepare Now

Beginning on January 22, 2018, domestic air passengers with driver’s licenses issued by a state that is not yet compliant with REAL ID and that has not received an extension will need to show an alternative form of acceptable identification for domestic air travel. Both the U.S. passport card and passport book are REAL ID compliant. If you already have a REAL ID compliant driver’s license, it will remain valid for domestic air travel.

REAL ID Requirements The REAL ID Act, which became law in 2005, requires driver’s licenses to meet minimum security standards for issuance and production. For air travel and certain other purposes, federal agencies are prohibited from accepting driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards unless those states have been granted extensions.

The U.S. passport book and the U.S. passport card are REAL ID compliant and are acceptable identification to board domestic flights. The U.S. passport card is the same size as a driver’s license and only costs $55 for first time applicants or $30 for those who have already had a passport. A U.S. passport book is always required for international air travel – passport cards are not valid for international air travel.

Applying for a U.S. Passport Passport demand is on the rise and the Department of State expects to see 20 million applications in Fiscal Year 2017. It is best to apply early and to take advantage of lower wait times September through December. For adults renewing their passport, the process can be done by mail.

For information on how to apply for a U.S. passport, visit travel.state.gov or call the National Passport Information Center toll-free at 1-877-487-2778/1-888-874-7793 (TTY/TTD).

For more information on the acceptable forms of identification for boarding aircraft, please see TSA’s website tsa.gov. To find out if your state’s driver’s license or ID are Real ID compliant visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website dhs.gov/real-id.

Portion of Centennial Trail Closed between Nemo and Pilot Knob  

Custer, SD A portion of the Centennial Trail on the Black Hills National Forest will be temporarily closed this fall. Motorized segments between Nemo and Pilot Knob will be temporarily closed for re-construction to improve the trail. Work begins after Labor Day. Closed segments will be marked on the ground.

“For public safety, sections of the trail will be temporarily closed during re-construction,” said Steve Kozel, Northern Hills District Ranger. “Once the work is complete, the trail will be re-opened.”

For more information on the Black Hills National Forest, visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/blackhills.

CRAZY HORSE MEMORIAL September 6th Night Blast

September 6th Night Blast
Among the most popular events at Crazy Horse Memorial are the two night blasts traditionally held each year. The spectacular ceremonial blast lights up the mountain with incredible fireballs and specially designed pyrotechnical features.

The upcoming September 6, 2017 Night Blast which honors the dual anniversaries of the 1877 death of Lakota Warrior Crazy Horse and of the 1908 birth of sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski.

The public is welcome at the night blast. After 5:00 p.m. on September 6th the Memorial gratefully accepts three cans of food per person for the KOTA Care and Share Food Drive in lieu of the regular admission fee. Because the night blast is a popular event, the public is advised to arrive early. The Laughing Water Restaurant at Crazy Horse Memorial closes at 4:00 p.m. on the evening of the night blast, but the Snack Shop will remain open.
Native American performer Starr Chief Eagle will be performing at 11:30, 1:30, and 3:30 and an additional performance at 6:30 p.m. on the Viewing Deck and in the chance of inclement weather in the covered porch. Her performance will include an informational talk and demonstration of Native American hoop dances.

Important note: Night blasts are conducted on a “weather permitting” basis.

About Crazy Horse Memorial

Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation’s mission is to honor, protect, and preserve the culture, traditions, and living heritage of the Indians of North America. The Memorial fulfills its mission by continuing the progress on the world’s largest mountain sculpture, acting as a repository for Native American artifacts, arts and crafts through the INDIAN MUSEUM OF NORTH AMERICA® and the NATIVE AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL & CULTURAL CENTER®; by establishing and operating the INDIAN UNIVERSITY OF NORTH AMERICA®, and when practical, a medical training center for American Indians.

Custer State Park Buffalo Enjoy a Light Lunch and A Nap

 

Custer State Park information.

August 15, 2017

The Custer State Park “Buffalo Safari” jeep gets tourist up close for some great pictures Tuesday afternoon near the entrance to the “Wildlife Loop”.

 

Hey! You! Get off of my cloud – Don’t hang around ’cause two’s a crowd.. Sorry to disturb a peaceful rest. Tuesday afternoon near the entrance to the “Wildlife Loop” in Custer State Park.

 

Most of the herd were enjoying some fresh grass and a nap Tuesday afternoon near the entrance to the “Wildlife Loop” in Custer State Park.

 

Historic Lookout Tower Preservation Work Continues on Black Elk Peak

Photo: Peg Ryan/Mile High Pilates and Yoga

Custer, Sd. August 14, 2017 – Preservation work continues at the historic lookout tower located on Black Elk Peak, August 14 – 18, 2017.  The last several years, Forest Service preservation specialists from Missoula, Montana, Forest employees and volunteers have installed doors and windows, in addition to masonry repairs.

New windows and doors will be installed this week to protect the interior from continued weathering and structural deterioration.  Future projects will focus on installation of the cupola floor and interior wall mortar.

Work performed in the wilderness area and at the tower will be traditional in technique, meaning no motorized equipment or wheeled tools will be used.

The Black Hills Backcountry Horsemen of South Dakota will be assisting with the project using their mules to pack materials via Harney Trail 9 North.

“The Forest Service is working to protect and preserve this structure to ensure future generations will have the opportunity to enjoy it,” said Sara Erickson, Hell Canyon Recreation & Wilderness Specialist, Black Hills National Forest.

Officials said they greatly appreciate the expertise of the R1 Historic Preservation team.

The Lookout was constructed by employees of the Civilian Conservations Corps that were stationed at Camp Doran. The site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is renowned by South Dakotans and visitors for its landscape views of the Black Hills and beyond.

For more information on the Black Hills National Forest, visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/blackhills.

-USDA-

An Obvious Lack of Intelligence and Sportsmanship

Custer
June 26, 2017

Wow, this will need to be replaced because “The Great White Hunters” could not find anything else to shoot at, they are really special people !
Is there a state of federal permit issued for shooting sign’s in South Dakota, or can you just do it if you are drunk, stupid or are really not sure what a gun is for ?
This sign is at the head of a Wildlife Production Area on Flynn Creek Road in the Custer area and does not offer any encouragement to visitors wishing to enjoy the area.
Can you think of a better reason for sensible gun control ?

 

Photo: Herb Ryan/Herb Ryan Photography ….6/26/2017