• Wind Cave National Park - Two Worlds

    Wind Cave

    National Park South Dakota

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  • Trail Closure Information

    The Highland Creek Trail is closed. Backcountry Zones 1 and 2 are closed to all off-trail travel and use. The Sanctuary and Centennial Trails remain open to through traffic.

  • Temporary Road Closure Information

    Oct. 18 & 19: NPS 5 and 6 are closed for the entire weekend. Monday, Oct. 20, through Wednesday, Oct. 22, NPS 5 will be closed from Highway 87 to NPS 6. Highway 87 will be closed from Road 342 (Beaver Creek Road) north to the park boundary.

Birth of a National Park - More Court Battles and More Decisions

Scene Near Cave Entrance

Scene Near Cave Entrance

NPS Photo

The Land Office Decides

On July 28, 1899 The Rapid City Journal reported: The commissioner of the general land office at Washington has handed down his decision in the case of South Dakota Mining Co. vs. Jesse D. McDonald. This is the long drawn out contest that has been frequently referred to as the “Wind Cave case.”

Signatures in the Cave

Signatures in the Cave

NPS Photo

The commissioner’s decision sustains that the land is not mineral but orders that the homestead entry of McDonald be cancelled, holding that he had not shown good faith in his occupancy of his homestead. He also holds that the ground is not mineral and is not subject to entry as such. He recommends that the cave be reserved by the government as a public resort.

Both parties to the suit are somewhat surprised at the outcome and will appeal to the secretary of the interior.

Uncle John Stabler says this is favorable to them anyway, because the local land office decided against them and in favor of McDonald.

Jesse D. McDonald (left) and John Stabler (right)
Jesse D. McDonald (left) and John Stabler (right)
NPS Photo Archive

Did You Know?

Porcupine in tree

Porcupine babies are called porcupettes. When they are born they have 15,000 quills. Porcupettes are born in the spring and, lucky for mom, the quills are soft. They can climb trees within an hour of birth. More...