Summer Ranger Programs Begin
June 10, 2004
Tom Farrell, 605-745-1130
Rangers at Wind Cave National Park have begun offering their summer schedule of tours. Starting at 8:40 a.m., thirty cave tours are offered daily from now until late August. These tours include walking tours of the Fairgrounds and Garden of Eden areas along with candlelight tours to the Pearly Gates.
For the more adventurous, half-day cave crawling tours are offered through a non-developed section of cave. Each participant is given a headlamp and kneepads before following their guide into a wild section of cave.
All cave tours begin at the Visitor Center, open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and require a fee. Visitors will need a light coat or sweater and rubber-shoed shoes. “We encourage everyone, especially the people living nearby, to visit this world-class resource.” says park Superintend Linda L. Stoll.
Surface activities include a daily prairie hike at 9 am, along with an evening campfire program given in the Elk Mountain Campground Amphitheater beginning at 9 p.m..
Besides ranger programs, many recreational activities are available across the park. Camping is available in the Elk Mountain Campground for $12 a night or in the park’s backcountry with a free permit. For those wanting to wander off the beaten track, the park hosts 44 square miles of prairie and forest waiting to be explored. People can use the 30 miles of existing park trails or strike off on their own.
Horses are allowed in the backcountry; obtain a permit at the park’s visitor center before beginning. Mountain biking is available on park roads, including dirt roads NPS 5 and 6, which snake their way through the Park’s backcountry.
For more information, call the park at 745-4600 or visit www.nps.gov/wica.
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.