"Boxwork" by NPS / Kim Acker , public domain
Visitor Guide to Wind Cave National Park (NP) in South Dakota. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).
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National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Visitor Guide Annual 2017 Wind Cave Top 5 Wind Cave Activities Welcome to Wind Cave National Park, a place that encompasses one of the last mixed-grass prairies in the country and one of the most complex maze caves in the world. With the unique mixture of above and below ground wonders, varied wildlife and cave formations, rolling prairie and soaring landscapes, there is something for everyone. Now get out and explore the park with these helpful hints! Tour the Cave Head underground to explore the park’s namesake. Discover unique formations, including cave popcorn, frostwork and boxwork, a formation rarely found in other caves. Wind Cave is accessible only by ranger-guided tour, and tickets for tours are sold on a first-come, firstserve basis the day of the tour at the visitor center. Tours often fill up early so expect a wait during the busy summer months. More tour information is available on page 4. Park Hours 24 hours/day, every day Visitor Center & Cave Hours See page 4 Become a Junior Ranger View Wildlife Kids and adults alike can learn more about the park through our Junior Ranger program. Pick up the free booklet in the visitor center bookstore and discover how the cave was formed, how to identify animal tracks and how to help protect the park, among many other activities. Complete the booklet and turn it in to a ranger at the visitor center to earn a Junior Ranger badge! Many animals call Wind Cave National Park home. Herds of bison, elk and pronghorn roam the prairie in search of fresh grass. Prairie dog towns are the hub of life, where prairie dogs scurry about and also attract wildlife. Coyotes often wander through the towns looking for their next meal, burrowing owls take up residence in abandoned burrows and black-footed ferrets sneak around at night hoping for a midnight snack. A prairie dog town can be viewed at the intersection of Highways 385 and 87. Other pullouts found along these two highways provide a safe place to view wildlife. Remember, you are visiting their home, so please do not approach or feed wildlife. Hit the Trail Take a Scenic Drive Although best known for the cave, the park features more than 30 miles of scenic trails. Wander through sweeping prairie grasslands and ponderosa forests, keeping a keen eye out for wildlife. Hike the short 1-mile trail to the Rankin Ridge fire tower, the highest point in the park, for a panorama of the Black Hills. For a more challenging hike try the Boland Ridge Trail on the east side of the park. Leashed dogs are only allowed on the Elk Mountain and Prairie Vista Nature trails. Please remember to pick up after your dog. More information on trails is available on page 8. While Highway 385 provides endless views of prairie and rolling hills, Highway 87 takes you into the trees for a chance to see another side of the park. The road winds north away from the visitor center, passing over bridges and by the Rankin Ridge Fire Tower. Explore the park off the beaten path by continuing your drive onto gravel roads NPS 5 and 6. Wonderful sunsets, wildlife and wide open night skies await. Several trailheads can also be found along these roads, including Boland Ridge and Highland Creek. If you are looking to explore more of the Black Hills, NPS 6 takes you directly into Custer State Park. Table of Contents Emergencies Dial 911 Planning Your Visit .........................2 Learning More About the Park ......6 Wind Cave Seasons ........................3 National Park Neighbors ................7 Cave Tour Information ...................4 Hiking Trails & Map ........................8 Park Info 605.745.4600 National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Planning Your Visit Horseback Riding Visitor Center The visitor center is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily, with extended hours during the summer. The visitor center is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Welcome to Wind Cave National Park! This national park is one of the oldest in the country. Established in 1903, it was the eighth national park created and the first set aside to protect a cave. While Wind Cave is the major attraction with its unique boxwork and significant underground cave passageways, the surface resources, including both natural and cultural resources, are also worth the stop. The buildings around the visitor center date back to the 1930's Civilian Conservation Corps. The wildlife such as bison, elk, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, prairie dogs, and black-footed ferrets are also exciting to view. Today, visitors from around the world come to see these two parks in one. Our hope is that you have a safe and enjoyable visit to Wind Cave National Park, take plenty of pictures, participate in our programs, and leave nothing but footprints. Travel Safe, Vidal Dávila Superintendent Wind Cave National Park Located in the southern Black Hills of South Dakota, Wind Cave National Park encompasses 33,924 acres of mixed-grass prairie and ponderosa pine forest, as well as one of the longest, oldest, and most complex cave systems in the world. Contact Wind Cave National Park 26611 US Hwy 385 Hot Springs, SD 57747-0129 USA (605) 745-4600 www.nps.gov/wica email@example.com This Visitor Guide is published by the Black Hills Parks and Forests Association, a not-for-profit organization that assists the National Park Service in its educational, interpretive, and scientific programs. For more information, see page (7). The National Park Service cares for the special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage. E X P E R I E N C E Y O U R A M E R I C A™ 2 Wind Cave National Park All cave tours begin at the visitor center and are offered daily. Exhibits, maps, book sales, backcountry permits, horse permits, information about cave tours and ranger programs, lost-and-found services, and Federal Recreational Lands Passes are Backcountry Camping Backcountry camping is permitted in the all available here. northwestern part of the park. Permits are required and available for free at Ranger Programs the visitor center. Ask a ranger for Cave tours are offered year-round suggestions on routes and destinations. while other ranger-led programs vary seasonally. See page 4 for more information. For your safety, and for the protection of park resources, follow all regulations during your stay. Leave no trace of your visit. Hiking Campground Located one mile north of the visitor center, the Elk Mountain Campground is open year-round and offers 62 campsites on a first-come, first-served basis. Two accessible sites are available. The campground generally does not fill. Campsites are $18 per night regularly, $9 per night in the shoulder season when facilities are limited. Senior or Access passholders pay half price. For information on group camping call 605.745.4600. Drinking water and flush toilets are available in summer, but no showers, electrical hookups, or dump stations. Firewood is made available for campers as the collection of firewood is prohibited. Campfire programs are held at the campground amphitheater throughout summer. When hiking park trails make sure to carry plenty of water; temperatures in the summer can exceed 100°F (38°C). Water is not readily available along the trails and any water found in the backcountry should be treated or boiled before drinking. Flies, mosquitoes, and wood ticks can be found in the wetter areas of the park. Be watchful for rattlesnakes throughout the prairie. Bicycling Bicycling is limited to roads which are open to public motor vehicle access. Bicycling off road, on trails, or in the backcountry is prohibited. When bicycling, be aware that animals roam freely through the park. Keep a safe distance from bison and all wild animals. Traveling the park’s backcountry roads, NPS 5 and 6, provides a great opportunity to see the prairie area of the park. Horseback riding is a wonderful way to experience the park’s backcountry. All horse and pack animal use requires a free permit available at the visitor center. Almost all of the park is open to riding, except: directly on hiking trails, near water sources, on roadways, and in the campground, picnic areas, and around the visitor center. Picnicking A picnic area is located ¼ mile north of the visitor center and is open year-round. The picnic area contains tables, fire grates, and pit toilets. Drinking water is available in the summer. Restrooms Restrooms are available year-round at the visitor center and in the summer months at the Elk Mountain Campground. Pit toilets are available at both the picnic area and the campground year round. Trash and Recycling Trash receptacles are available at the visitor center, the picnic area, and the Elk Mountain Campground. Recycling facilities are also available at these areas. The park recycles glass, aluminum cans, steel cans, and plastic containers with PETE 1 or HDPE 2 markings. Please rinse recyclables before placing them in containers. Area Services There are no lodging, gasoline, grocery, or restaurant services in the park. Snacks are available at the visitor center vending machines. Full services are available in the nearby towns of Hot Springs (15 minutes south) and Custer (25 minutes north), with partial services in Custer State Park (bordering Wind Cave National Park). For information on Hot Springs, call 800-325-6991; for Custer, call 800-992-9818; for Custer State Park, call 605-255-4515. Safety and Protecting Park Resources Protecting the Park Pets Park resources are for everyone to enjoy. Do not disturb or remove plants, wildlife, antlers, bones, rocks, or any other natural or cultural feature; they are protected by federal law. These resources are all part of the park’s ecosystem and are important to the park’s history and to the survival of animals and plants. Please leave all objects undisturbed so the next visitor can enjoy them. Pets are prohibited in the backcountry and on most hiking trails. Pets are permitted on the Elk Mountain Nature Trail and on the Prairie Vista Nature Trail. Please clean up after your pet. Pets may not be left unattended and must be on a leash at all times. Do not leave pets in your vehicle for any length of time. Kennel space is available in Hot Springs or Custer. Weapons Weather Federal law allows people who can legally possess firearms under federal, South Dakota, and local laws to possess firearms while visiting Wind Cave National Park. Hunting and the use of firearms is prohibited. It is the visitor’s responsibility to understand and comply with all applicable state, local, and federal firearms laws. Federal law prohibits firearms in public buildings within this park. These locations are posted with signs. Hazardous weather can strike at any time of year. Severe thunderstorms, common in the summer, bring lightning and the potential for damaging hail and possibly a tornado. Check the forecast before heading out and avoid the open prairie when severe weather is expected. Traveling in the Park All vehicles and bicycles must remain on roadways. Off-road driving or bicycle riding is prohibited. Obey all speed limits as they are in place to protect you and the wildlife. For your own safety, federal and state seatbelt laws are enforced. 18 ...number of bison killed by motor vehicles on park roads since 2013. Enjoy the view. Watch the road. Wildlife Animals in the park are wild and unpredictable. Do not approach or attempt to feed them. Feeding animals causes them to become dependent on handouts and attracts them to highways. Bison roam freely within the park and can be dangerous. Stay a safe distance from all wildlife – regulations require at least 25 yards from bison and elk. Wind Cave through the Seasons Wind Cave National Park is open year-round, offering a unique experience with each season. Winter can be harsh, but the Between Thanksgiving and late February, visitors generally find they only need to share the park with the resident bison. rewards of visiting the park in winter can be great. Fresh snow enlivens the landscape while early sunsets provide a glorious range of light for photographs. Bison, deer, pronghorn, and elk remain active in the winter. Regardless of surface weather, underground the cave's temperature stays near 54°F (12°C). The park also hosts special winter hikes and children’s programs. Ask a ranger for details. The Visitor Center is open 362 days a year, closing only on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's days. Summer days are shattered by sudden thunderstorms, while pleasant nights bring out a variety of wildlife. Wind Cave receives 75% of its visitation in the three summer months. For most of June through August the full range of cave tours and other programs are available. Even on the hottest days the cave is still 54°F (12°C), providing welcome relief from outdoor temperatures. Hiking and camping are popular activities, but plan ahead: heat, thunderstorms, rattlesnakes, and ticks are at their height during the summer season. Spring brings warm days and chilly nights. Sudden storms may drop a foot of snow only to melt a day later, giving way to green prairie grasses and wildflowers. Pasqueflowers (pictured), phlox, and coneflower are common. Spring may well be the best season to view wildlife. Migratory birds move through the area on their way north while summer residents, such as burrowing owls, begin to arrive. Bison, Fall is marked by the haunting bugle of bull elk announcing the start of the rut. Autumn's moderate temperatures and dry days make it a special time to visit the park. elk, deer and pronghorn give birth in the spring -- look close for glimpses of redhued bison calves playing in the prairie. Visitation increases and the cave tour schedule expands, though it's still a good idea to arrive early. Environmental education programs are offered for school groups. Trails can be muddy, but temperatures for hiking remain pleasant. Program, providing a chance to listen to and learn about the park's herd of elk with a park ranger, is offered select evenings in the fall. See page 4 for more information. As visitation slows down, so does the schedule of cave tours. The Elk Bugling Weather Average High Temp. Average Low Temp. Average Precipitation (snowfall) January February March April May June July August September October November December 38°F 3°C 11°F -12°C 42°F 6°C 15°F -9°C 50°F 10°C 21°F -6°C 61°F 17°C 32°F 0°C 71°F 22°C 42°F 6°C 81°F 27°C 51°F 11°C 89°F 32°C 57°F 15°C 88°F 32°C 55°F 13°C 78°F 26°C 45°F 7°C 66°F 19°C 34°F 1°C 50°F 10°C 23°F -5°C 40°F 6°C 14°F -10°C 0.4" (6.6") 0.6" (5.9") 1.0" (7.4") 1.9" (7") 3.4" (2") 3.1" (0) 2.5" (0) 1.8" (0) 1.4" (0.5") 1.2" (1.5") 0.6" (5.1") 0.5" (6") Wind Cave National Park 3 Cave Tour Information All cave tours are ranger-guided and leave from the visitor center. The cave temperature is 54°F(12°C) year-round. A jacket or sweater is recommended. Shoes are required. Sandals are not recommended. Any clothing, foot-wear, or gear worn in caves outside the Black Hills in the last 5 years is not permitted on any cave tour due to White-nose Syndrome. Tickets are sold on a firstcome, first-served basis at the visitor center. Tickets must be purchased at least five minutes before tour times. are not allowed in the cave. These items cannot be left at the Information Desk or anywhere in the Visitor Center. Please secure all large items with your vehicle before your tour. Garden of Eden Tour 1 hour; 1/3 mile Reservations strongly recommended. The cave is partially accessible to people with limited mobility. Please call ahead to make arrangements or ask at the information desk for an accessible tour. Tours are $5.00 for adults and half price for Senior or Access pass holders. Sign language tours may be available with prior notice. Interagency Passes Issued Here 10:00, 1:00, 3:00 Visitor Center 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Cave Tour* 9:30, 11:30, 1:30, 3:30 April 30 - May 26 Visitor Center 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. May 27 - May 29, Memorial Day Weekend Visitor Center 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Garden of Eden Tour 10:00, 12:00, 2:00 11:00, 1:00, 3:00 May 30 - June 3 Visitor Center 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Garden of Eden Tour 1:30, 3:30 Natural Entrance Tour 9:00, 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, 4:00, 5:00 June 4 - August 19 Experience the cave by candlelight. This tour takes place in a less developed, unlit part of the cave. Each participant will carry a candle bucket. Shoes with nonslip soles are required. No sandals of any kind are permitted. This tour is limited to 10 people and the minimum age is 8. This strenuous tour covers 2/3 mile of rugged trail. Wild Cave Tour 4 hours Reduced tours August 6-12. Visit www.nps.gov/wica for schedule Visitor Center 8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Garden of Eden Tour 10:40, 12:40, 2:40 Natural Entrance Tour 8:40, 9:20, 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, 4:00, 5:00, 5:30, 6:00 Fairgrounds Tour 9:40, 10:20, 11:40, 12:20, 1:40, 2:20, 3:40, 4:20 Candlelight Tour 10:30, 1:30 Wild Cave Tour 1:00 Campfire Program 9:00 p.m. August 20 - September 4 Reservations required. Visitor Center 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Garden of Eden Tour 10:30, 1:40, 3:40 Natural Entrance Tour 9:00, 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, 4:00, 5:00 Fairgrounds Tour 11/2 hours; 2/3 mile Accessibility Tour Cave Tour* Fairgrounds Tour STRENUOUS This tour explores both the upper and middle levels of Wind Cave. Boxwork is abundant along the trail in the middle level of the cave. In the upper level, the trail winds through large rooms and into areas where popcorn and frostwork can be seen. This is the most strenuous walking tour with 450 stairs, including one flight of 89 steps up. The tour enters and exits the cave by elevator. 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Natural Entrance Tour 8:40, 9:20, 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, 3:30, 4:30, 5:00 MODERATE This moderately strenuous tour is the most popular at Wind Cave. It includes a visit to the cave's largest natural opening, a site considered sacred by many American Indians. Participants enter the cave through a man-made entrance and journey through the middle level of the cave, exiting via elevator. Wind Cave’s famous boxwork is abundant along this route. Popcorn and frostwork can also be seen along the trail. Most of route's 300 stairs are down, making it great for kids and families. Visitor Center Natural Entrance Tour 9:00, 10:30, 11:30, 1:30, 2:30, 4:00 Candlelight Tour 2 hours; 2/3 mile This tour is the least strenuous, with only 150 stairs. Boxwork, popcorn, and flowstone formations are seen along the trail. The tour is ideal for people with limited time or abilities. This tour enters and exits the cave by elevator. Natural Entrance Tour 11/4 hours; 2/3 mile Early 2017 - April 15 April 16 - April 29 Strollers, backpacks, helmets, and other large items EASY Cave Tour & Program Schedule Schedule subject to change -- call 605.745.4600 for current schedule. Fairgrounds Tour 9:30, 11:20, 1:20, 3:20 Candlelight Tour 1:30 Wild Cave Tour 1:00 Weekends Only: Aug. 20, 26, 27, Sept. 2, 3 Campfire Program Nightly, call for times. September 5 - September 23 Visitor Center 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Natural Entrance Tour 9:00, 10:30, 11:30, 1:30, 2:30, 3:30, 4:30 Explore the cave away from developed trails on this strenuous tour. Learn the basics of safe caving and see many of Wind Cave's common formations. Wear old clothes and gloves, as much of the trip includes crawling. Long pants, long sleeved shirts, and sturdy, lace-up boots or shoes with non-slip soles are required. No sandals of any kind are permitted on this tour. Hard hats, lights, and kneepads are provided. Please do not bring jewelry, watches, or other valuables on the tour. Clothing worn on the Jewel Cave Wild Caving Tour is not permitted in Wind Cave. Clothing and gear used in areas with potential white-nose syndrome contamination are not permitted in the cave. This tour is limited to 10 people and the minimum age is 16. A signed parental consent form is required for participants 16 and 17 years old. Evening Activity 7:00 p.m., starting on September 5th, Tue., Thu., Sat. September 24 - October 7 Visitor Center 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Cave Tour* 9:30, 11:30, 1:30, 3:30 October 8 - Early 2018 Visitor Center 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Cave Tour* 10:00, 1:00, 3:00 *Garden of Eden or Natural Entrance Tour Reservations Tickets for cave tours are sold on a first-come, first-served basis with the following exceptions: • Large groups or schools: Reservations are accepted. • Candlelight Tour: Reservations are strongly recommended. • Wild Cave Tour: Reservations are required. Reservations are accepted beginning one month before the tour and must be made by phone. Call 605.745.4600 for information or reservations. Cave Tour Fees Tickets must be purchased at least five (5) minutes before scheduled tour time. Garden of Eden Tour Natural Entrance Tour Fairgrounds Tour Candlelight Tour Wild Cave Tour Adults (17+) $10.00 $12.00 $12.00 $12.00 $30.00 Children (6-16) $5.00 $6.00 $6.00 ** Not Permitted 5 and Under Free Free Free Not Permitted Not Permitted Senior/Access Pass* $5.00 $6.00 $6.00 $6.00 * Price applies only to cardholders. ** Minimum age for Candlelight Tour is 8 years old. Tickets for children 8-16 cost $6.00 4 Wind Cave National Park The Wonders of Wind Cave Wind Cave is unique from many other caves in that it has less active water flow. Less water means fewer dripstone formations, or speleothems, such as the stalactites and stalagmites common in other caves. Many speleothems can still be found, often hidden amongst other cave formations. The following represent only a small percentage of the many formations found within Wind Cave. Boxwork Speleothem or Speleogen? Both words refer to cave formations and are rooted in the Greek word for cave. The difference depends on when the feature formed. Those revealed when the cave formed are speleogens. One of the most common sights in Wind Cave, boxwork is extraordinarily rare elsewhere -over 95% of the known boxwork worldwide is found within Wind Cave. Adding to boxwork’s mystique, it is not a true speleothem, but a speleogen, having formed before the cave itself! Those that form by minerals deposited after the cave formed are speleothems. To remember the difference recall that speleogens had their genesis or creation with the cave, not after. Vugs Vugs are pockets in the limestone cave walls lined with crystals. The ornate crystals can be large or small, clear or colored, quartz or calcite, dogtooth spar or nailhead spar. Look close to spot these formations hidden in the walls along all tour routes. Dripstone Dripstone is a general term for formations made by water as it drips into a cave. Dripstone formations include stalactites, stalagmites, columns, popcorn, flowstone, and draperies (cave bacon), most of which are rare in Wind Cave, a relatively dry cave. Dripstone features can be seen in a few places including along the Garden of Eden tour route. Moonmilk Moonmilk's origins are almost as strange as its name. It is hypothesized to be either the result of bacterial action on limestone or hydrated calcite precipitates. This cave formation looks somewhat like cottage cheese splattered on the cave walls. Frostwork Frostwork forms as airflow interacts with droplets of mineral-rich water. Frostwork is formed from a mineral known as aragonite, whose crystals form delicate branches of needles or frost-like structures. Some Wind Cave frostwork has grown 8-10” tall crystals resembling frosted Christmas trees! Calcite Rafts A lump of calcite, like most rocks, would sink in water. But calcite rafts are paper-thin sheets of calcite that coalesce around specks of dust floating atop perfectly still pools of water inside a cave. If the sheet of calcite becomes too thick (more than 1mm) or ripples form in the water, this floating rock formation will sink, piling with other sunken rafts on the floor. Popcorn Though resembling its buttery namesake, cave popcorn could be more accurately described as petrified cave sweat! Popcorn forms as water rich in calcite beads up on the surface of cave walls. The calcite crystallizes and, given time, the crystals come to resemble a kernel of popped corn. Popcorn can be found throughout Wind Cave and along all tour routes. Gypsum Flowers Gypsum is a common mineral found in drier areas of limestone caves. Under the right conditions, gypsum can form incredibly delicate curling crystals, including gypsum flowers that appear to "bloom" out of the cave walls! White-nose Syndrome Legend: PICNIC AREA Natural Entrance Spiral Stairs North Room You can help protect the bats in Wind Cave by not wearing any shoes, clothing or other items that have been in another cave or mine outside the Black Hills within the last five years. Trail Natural Entrance Tour Route Garden Eden Tour Route Back Room WALK-IN ENTRANCE First identified in a cave in New York State, the disease has spread west to southeastern Nebraska. Its appearance in western states may only be a matter of time. Although this disease does not affect humans, people may contribute to its spread by unknowingly transporting spores from an affected cave to others on clothing or objects used in affected caves. Building Sidewalk Surveyed cave passages Juice Room A disease called White-nose Syndrome (WNS) is spreading through the United States, killing more than 6 million bats since 2006. WNS is linked to a fungus that forms a white growth on bats' muzzles and other body parts when they are most vulnerable--during hibernation. Affected bats wake and use up energy reserves before spring comes, resulting in death by starvation or freezing. Road Pearly Gates AmphiTheater Fairgrounds Tour Route Candlelight Tour Route The Tabernacle Post Office Room Draculum Fat Mans Misery Mermaids Rest The Rookery Union College Devils Lookout Sampsons Palace VISITOR CENTER Queens Drawing Room Methodist Church The Cathedral Chamber de Norcutt The Chert Room The Temple The Coliseum Brown Canyon Fairgrounds Johnstones Campground Blue Grotto The Crossroads Elks Room Summer Avenue Giants Stone Quarry The Pebble The Assembly Room The Fairgrounds Council Chamber The Bachelor Quarters The Three-Way Stairs ELEVATOR BUILDING W.C.T.U. Hall Cathedral Dome Rome Spillway Eastern Star Room Garden of Eden Corkscrew Stairs Wind Cave National Park 5 Learn More About Wind Cave Teach outside the Black Hills? No problem! Bring the park to your classroom with a distance learning program, available to any school with a high speed internet connection. Contact the park at 605.745.4600 for details. Join Us Online Bring Your Class to the Park Keep in touch with what's happening in the park anytime, anywhere. Learn about special activities, and watch the wildlife and landscape as the seasons change. Students can participate in regular cave tours or the park's Connections or Water in the Environment program. These free programs are offered in April and May. Reservations are required. Explore Our Website Learn about the adventures of current and past explorers of the cave, understand the history of wildlife in the park, or discover more about local plant communities. www.nps.gov/wica programs or to maintain or install new infrastructure. Friends groups can receive and administer your ear-marked donation for specific projects. For more information visit: www.friendsofwindcavenp.org Friends of Wind Cave National Park Friends of Wind Cave National Park (FoWC) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support and promote Wind Cave National Park as a natural and cultural treasure and to expand the awareness of the unique value of the park to the Black Hills community and the nation. Friends groups provide community based fundraising for various projects to enhance the local park's interpretive Ranger Programs Ranger-led programs are offered throughout the year (see page 4). Contact the visitor center at 605.745.4600 for more information on any of the following programs: Campfire Program Sanson Ranch Hikes Discovery Talk Adventures in Nature Evening campfire talks are presented nightly during the summer at the Elk Mountain Campground Amphitheater. Topics vary and programs last about 45 minutes. See page 4 for times. Explore a historic homestead with a ranger, including a moderate 1.5 mile cross-country hike to a bison jump used by American Indians. Offered select Saturdays in June and July. During the summer, join a ranger on the visitor center lawn for a short talk or demonstration explaining aspects of the park. Topics and times vary. Check at the visitor center information desk for details. Adventures in Nature is a fun and interactive way for you and your children to learn about nature. The program is offered during winter and includes activities that encourage children 3 to 12 to explore the natural world. Kids Corner Creature Feature - Bison Bison are the largest mammal in North America and were named America’s national mammal in 2016. They are often found munching on grass for 9 to 11 hours a day to keep that heft! But don’t be fooled by their calm nature -- bison are fast! They can run up to 35 miles per hour, spin around quickly, and jump high fences. In 1913, the American Bison society donated 14 bison to Wind Cave and sent them here on railroad cars. These 14 were the foundation of the current herd numbering more than 500. Become A Junior Ranger The Junior Ranger program is a great way to learn about the cave, ecosystems, and wildlife of Wind Cave National Park! FREE Junior Ranger booklets are available in the Park Store. Baby bison are born in April & May (left). Male bison can weigh close to 2,000 pounds (top), and sometimes fight each other for dominance (above). 6 Wind Cave National Park Black Hills Parks & Forests Association Black Hills Parks & Forests Association (BHPFA) is a 501(c)3 organization that partners with Wind Cave National Park to operate the park store. Revenue generated from store sales supports interpretive, educational, and resource management programs at Wind Cave National Park. BHPFA operates 15 retail locations throughout South Dakota, Nebraska, and Wyoming. Visit our stores at: • Jewel Cave National Monument • Custer State Park • Black Hills National Forest sites • Nebraska National Forest & Grasslands sites • National Grasslands Visitor Center Adopt-a-Bison Program Would you like to support Wind Cave's special herd of bison? Your Adopt-aBison contribution provides updates on events in your bison's life and supports bison research and special activities. Ask a park store staff member for details. Since 1946 - Enhancing YOUR public lands experience www.blackhillsparks.org Become a Member! In addition to operating retail stores for public land agencies, BHPFA is a member organization. Education Conservation www.blackhillsparks.org 605.745.7020 Annual Membership $30 Annual Business Membership $50 In the last five years BHPFA has given over Members support the educational mission of Black Hills Parks & Forests Association, including: • wildlife research projects • habitat preservation • Junior Ranger programs • publication of inspirational and educational books and materials Membership benefits include: Discounts at all BHPFA National Park and National Forest locations in South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, and online at www. blackhillsparks.org. • Reciprocal discounts at select National Park association stores in the area and across the country. • Member-only online sales. • Invitations for volunteer opportunities. • BHPFA newsletters Interpretation $123,000 to Wind Cave National Park i