Drivers Urged to Use Caution at Wind Cave National Park
Contact: Tom Farrell, 605-745-1130
WIND CAVE NATIONAL PARK, SD - Winter weather, night driving, and hard to see animals can make for hazardous driving conditions at Wind Cave National Park.
"A bison lying or walking on the road can be very difficult to see at night and almost impossible to see in poor weather conditions," said park superintendent Vidal Davila. "We encourage all drivers to adjust their speeds to the conditions and operate their vehicles with safety in mind."
During winter months, especially in snowy conditions, wildlife patterns change. It is not uncommon to find bison along the highways licking salt used on roads outside the park and deposited inside the park by passing vehicles. Accidents involving large wildlife have the potential to cause serious injuries to drivers and their passengers. Studies show the best way to reduce these types of accidents is for drivers to slow down.
Davila added, "In the last five years, 48 large animals, primarily bison, have been killed as a result of vehicle collisions in the park. Sometimes even driving the posted speed limit is too fast for conditions and people need to slow down."
The park recently installed radar speed signs at both entrances along Highway 385 in an attempt to remind drivers to reduce their speed. The park protects around 400 bison.
Did You Know?
Winds caused by changes in barometric pressure are what give Wind Cave its name. These winds have been measured at the cave's walk-in entrance at over 70 mph. The winds at the natural entrance of the cave attracted the attention of Native Americans and early settlers.