South Dakota’s Wind Cave National Park is Expanding

Wind Cave National Park

Photo by Omakakii/flickr

This past Thursday it was announced that the size of South Dakota’s Wind Cave National Park will be increased by 5,555 acres due to the acquisition of neighbouring ranch land, including a thousand-year-old buffalo jump and a historic homestead.

The new addition will add to the 30,000 acres already within the boundary. Wind Cave National Park was established in 1903 as the eighth U.S. national park, it was the first cave to be designated as a national park. At 219.75 kilometers (136.55 miles) long and still going Wind Cave is one of the world’s longest and most complex caves.

“The addition of this historic ranch to the park will help ensure that people for generations to come can come to know and love this treasured landscape and have the opportunity to learn about the indigenous peoples of South Dakota,” – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar who made the announcement

The land is rich with Native American history and includes tipi rings and other cultural sites. Over 1000 years ago Native Americans used cliffs on the newly acquired land to hunt buffalo by directing their stampedes over the edge.

Now a year long planning process will begin to decide how to manage the land for visitors and wildlife. Park staff are expected to start work this fall to begin to integrate the land into the rest of the park.

A public dedication ceremony will take place on October 15th. Additional information will be released as plans become finalized.

Update: Plans for the dedication ceremony have been released and are available on the Wind Cave National Park website.

Addition of Historic Ranch to Wind Cave National Park [Wind Cave National Park]

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