• 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.

Wildlife Management - In Sickness and in Health

A.P. Chambers’ Field Diary

A.P. Chambers’ Field Diary

NPS Photo

What is Killing the Pronghorn?

Eventually, Chambers realized that the problem was not totally predators. Part of the problem was understanding the pronghorn. In 1918 Chambers stated:

I put 8 head into the small pasture where I could have them under my sight. Three or four developed swellings on the jaws. I had read that this (actinomycosis) was a fatal disease. We have lost many antelope that have never been accounted for and it is more than probable that some of these were victims of this disease.

Pronghorn are the fastest North American land mammal and need space to escape predators. In 1926, Chambers summarized: The propagation of the antelope (pronghorn) is difficult. The only way this can be accomplished is by setting aside large tracts of land, left as natural as possible. The antelope will not thrive in confinement. Chambers died 2 years later of actinomycosis, which he caught from the animals he had worked so hard to save.

A New Approach

In 1935, when the game preserve became part of Wind Cave National Park, the Civilian Conservation Corps tore down the interior fences creating a larger range for all the animals. The Custer Recreational Demonstration land was acquired in the 1940’s and by 1964 the park had grown to more than 28,000 acres with a population of 300 pronghorn.

Pronghorn Family on Prairie
Pronghorn Family on Prairie
NPS Photo

Did You Know?

White Penstemon

White Penstemon is the most widespread penstemon or beardtongue in the Great Plains. The insides of the blossoms are bearded and often spotted with purple. More...