Resource Ramblings 2005-02
A rose is a rose is a rose…
Unlike florists, Wind Cave National Park does not have a supply of blooming roses available for viewing during February. But, that doesn’t mean the plants are not out there. There are three species of roses, all shrubs, on the park’s plant list:
prickly wild rose Rosa acicularis Lindl.
Wild roses provide good browse for deer and elk. Numerous small mammals, including porcupines and rabbits, utilize rose hips for food.
There are many species occurring at the park that are members of the Rose Family, including: chokecherry, American plum, sand cherry, raspberry, serviceberry, northern hawthorn, wild strawberry, mountain mahogany, prairie smoke, and several species of cinquefoil.
Physical Science Management
On January 8, 2005, the Wind Cave survey (114.19 miles) passed Lechuguilla Cave (114.08 miles) to become the third longest surveyed cave in the US and the fifth longest cave in the World. Although there was a survey trip into Lechuguilla on the 9th, that trip only brought the Lechuguilla survey up to 114.17 miles, 105 feet short of passing Wind Cave. This event has brought a fair amount of national attention to Wind Cave, both in the news media and in caving circles. Currently, there is very little survey being done in any of the large foreign caves (Optimisticeskaja in Ukraine or Holloch in Switzerland). If the current trend continues, within a few years, the four or five longest caves in the world will all be found in the US.
Many wonder why we continue cave exploration and mapping. Since the beginning of man, people have gone into areas they have known little about. The desire to explore has been prompted by many different reasons, including necessity, curiosity, and even the desire for riches. National Park Service policy states that we will “define, assemble, and synthesize comprehensive baseline inventory data describing the natural resources under its stewardship, and identify the processes that influence those resources.” (Management Policies 2001 4.2.1) Ron Kerbo, NPS Cave Specialist, provided the following additional reasons for cave exploration and mapping:
Cave exploration and survey are two of the most important components of a solid baseline for cave management decisions. Without continued exploration and mapping, accomplishing mandates for protection, preservation, and management of cave resources could not be met.
Comments and feedback about Resource Ramblings are encouraged and can be made to Dan Foster, in person, or via email.
Did You Know?
Alvin McDonald was the first systematic explorer of Wind Cave. He explored the cave from 1890 until his death in 1893. More...