Defining Moments - Green Report
The Green Report of 1899
NPS Photo Archive
The latter part of the 1890s at Wind Cave was full of strife and threatened violence. The two families, the McDonalds and the Stablers, who formed a partnership in 1892 to run the cave, were locked in the midst of a bitter feud over its ownership. Neither family owned the property. The McDonalds were attempting to gain control with a homestead claim while the Stablers worked to prove up on a mining claim. It was clear to everyone, including various officials involved in the numerous hearings, that neither family was interested in farming or mining. It was the cave, and its reported 100 plus miles of passageway, they were after. Every time the General Land Office ruled in favor of the McDonalds, the Stabler faction appealed until finally the Commissioner of the General Land Office suggested the cave be set aside as a public resort. To determine the cave's suitability, Special Agent Green of the General Land Office was sent to investigate. It was his report that fueled congressional action and eventual national park status in 1903.
Did You Know?
Wind Cave is the first cave in the world to be designated as a national park. That occurred on January 9, 1903.