Wind Cave National Park Offers Free Tours on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Visitors taking free tours of Wind Cave on January 15 will view a rare calcite cave formation called boxwork. (NPS Photo)

January 6, 2018

Hot Springs, S.D.  – Wind Cave National Park will offer free tours on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, January 15. Natural Entrance Tours will be offered at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. These tours are 75 minutes in length and traverse 300 stairs beginning at the cave’s Walk-In Entrance. A tour of the Garden of Eden area of the cave will be offered at 3 p.m. This hour-long tour has 150 stairs. Both tours will view the boxwork cave formation for which the cave is famous.

Tickets are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. All tours begin at the visitor center located ½-mile off US Highway 385.

For more information, contact Wind Cave National Park at 605-745-4600

Holiday Open House and Annual Bird Count Help Celebrate the Season at Wind Cave National Park

A Hairy Woodpecker is one of the bird species that might be seen on the Wind Cave National Park Christmas Bird Count held on Sunday, December 17. (NPS Photo)

 

 November 29, 2017

WIND CAVE NATIONAL PARK, HOT SPRINGS  S.D. – Holiday events this year at Wind Cave National Park begin Wednesday, December 13,  with the park’s holiday open house followed by the 22 Annual Wind Cave National Park Christmas Bird Count on Sunday, December 17.

The open house will run from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the visitor center. Light refreshments will be served, and students from the Hot Springs’ third grade will present their Christmas program at 1:30 p.m. The students will also decorate the visitor center Christmas tree.

“The open house and Christmas bird count are fun ways to celebrate the season,” said Park Superintendent Vidal Dávila. “We welcome these opportunities to meet with our neighbors, and we wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season.”

During the open house, the public will be able to view park exhibits and browse through the park store operated by the Black Hills Parks and Forests Association.

Bird count participants should dress for the weather, bring field guides, and binoculars. Plan to meet at the visitor center no later than 7:45 a.m. on December 17. Afterwards, there will be a potluck supper around 4:15 p.m. in the visitor center; bring a dish to share.  RSVP by calling the park at 605-745-4600.

The Christmas Bird Count is patterned after the National Audubon Society’s effort to document trends in wintering birdlife throughout the United States. The count area will include all of Wind Cave National Park and areas of the Black Hills National Forest and Custer State Park.

The visitor center and cave will close on Christmas and New Year’s Day to allow staff to celebrate the holidays with their families. Throughout the remainder of the winter, the visitor center will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with cave tours at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.

Wind Cave National Park Continues Practice of Bison Satellite Herd Development

By Herb Ryan
October 17, 2017

Wind Cave National Park, Hot Springs SD – From 1987 to 2015, Wind Cave National Park has processed and distributed 1,763 bison. Of these animals, 80% have gone to Native American Tribes, 17% have gone to non-governmental  organizations like The Nature Conservancy and the remaining 3% to other National Park Service units, state agencies and university.

Today Tuesday, October 24, 2017 workers were processing  bison that will be shipped to The Nature Conservancy (approximately 70 bison) in Kansas for relocation to preserves in Indiana and Kansas and The Arizona Game and Fish Department will receive approximately 60 bison and will locate them to The Raymond Wildlife Management Area 40 miles southeast of Flagstaff, Arizona. The Kalispel Tribe in Washington State will be receiving approximately 3 bison and locating them to eastern Washington.

Bison were introduced to the park in 1913 when fourteen bison were donated by the New York Zoological Park (Bronx Zoo) and six more animals were obtained from Yellowstone National Park in 1916. In 1945, brucellosis was found in the Park’s bison. Through inoculation of calves, extensive testing, and elimination of positive animals the Wind Cave herd was declared brucellosis free in 1968 by the State of South Dakota. Lennie Ramacher, assistant chief of interpretation at Wind Cave National Park said, ” A recent three year genetics study in 2001 found that Wind Cave and Yellowstone National Park herds to be free of cattle gene introgression and identified them as having the most significant contribution to genetic variation in federal bison herds”.

Shelly Shepherd, the public information officer with the Arizona Game and Fish Department said, “Our 60 bison will be going to the Raymond Wildlife Area which is a 15,000 Arizona Game and Fish commission property. The herd will be managed for wildlife viewing and regulated hunting opportunities for the public.” Shepherd continued, ” Our entire crew is very proud to be part of this significant Bison conservation effort. We are very excited to be a conservation partner and working with the National Park Service on this project.”

*Correction: Shelly Shepherd, the public information officer with the Arizona Game and Fish Department was wrongly identified as Shelly Roberts in the original post.

 

Wind Cave bison enter the final sorting area for inspection, ear tagging and medical evaluation Tuesday, October 24, 2017 at Wind Cave National Park, Custer, SD. Photo: Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press

 

A Wind Cave bison takes stock of his surroundings after entering a final sorting area for inspection, ear tagging and medical evaluation Tuesday, October 24, 2017 at Wind Cave National Park, Custer, SD. Photo: Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press

 

Wind Cave employee Alex Cammens watches as a calf is flagged into the squeeze chute area for inspection, ear tagging and medical evaluation Tuesday, October 24, 2017 at Wind Cave National Park, Custer, SD. Photo: Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press

 

Whit Hibbard,(left), a livestock stress management consultant watches the progress of a bison as it transitions through an alleyway to the final sorting area for inspection, ear tagging and medical evaluation Tuesday, October 24, 2017 at Wind Cave National Park, Custer, SD. Photo: Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press

 

A crew works at the entrance to the squeeze chute as a bison enters for final sorting inspection, ear tagging and medical evaluation Tuesday, October 24, 2017 at Wind Cave National Park, Custer, SD. Photo: Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press

 

 

A bison is released from the squeeze chute after an inspection, ear tagging and medical evaluation Tuesday, October 24, 2017 at Wind Cave National Park, Custer, SD. Photo: Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press

 

Hot Springs South Dakota Holiday Parade of Lights Photos

Hot Springs South Dakota Holiday Parade of Lights Photos, December 2, 2016
All Images: Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press

 

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The “SandStone Singers” entertained at “The Evan” prior to the Holiday Parade of Lights Friday, December 2, 2016 in Hot Springs, SD. Photo: Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press

 

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Santa Claus, AKA Mark Beidecke answers questions about the gifts he will deliver this Christmas to all good little boys and girls at “The Evan” prior to the Holiday Parade of Lights Friday, December 2, 2016 in Hot Springs, SD. Photo: Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press

 

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A couple and their dogs stay warm and entertained in their truck waiting for the “Parade of Lights” to start Friday, December 2, 2016 in Hot Springs, SD. Photo: Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press

 

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The Hot Springs Bison High School Choral Group entertains at “The Evan” prior to the Holiday Parade of Lights Friday, December 2, 2016 in Hot Springs, SD. Photo: Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press

 

 

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Santa’s elf helper Willow Heidebrinke and Santa, AKA Mark Beidecke, lead the “Parade of Lights” in a 150 horsepower sleigh Friday, December 2, 2016 in Hot Springs, SD. Photo: Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press
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A lighted float passes by the bundled up crowd in front of “The Evan” at the “Holiday Parade of Lights” Friday, December 2, 2016 in Hot Springs, SD. Photo: Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press

 

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A “Snoopy lighted float with Santa test flying his sleigh, passes by the bundled up crowd in front of “The Evan” at the “Holiday Parade of Lights” Friday, December 2, 2016 in Hot Springs, SD. Photo: Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press

 

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A lighted float passes by the bundled up crowd in front of “The Evan” at the “Holiday Parade of Lights” Friday, December 2, 2016 in Hot Springs, SD. Photo: Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press

 

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A lighted passes by the bundled up crowd in front of “The Evan” at the “Holiday Parade of Lights” Friday, December 2, 2016 in Hot Springs, SD. Photo: Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press

 

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Santa’s alternate mode of transportation at the “Holiday Parade of Lights” Friday, December 2, 2016 in Hot Springs, SD. Photo: Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press

 

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The Miss South Dakota lighted float passes by the bundled up crowd in front of “The Evan” at the “Holiday Parade of Lights” Friday, December 2, 2016 in Hot Springs, SD. Photo: Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press