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Contact: Jennie Kish Albrinck, 605-433-5240
Contact: Julie Johndreau, 605-433-5242
BADLANDS NATIONAL PARK / MINUTEMAN MISSILE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE, S.D. -Badlands National Park (Badlands) and Minuteman Missile National Historic Site (Minuteman) will celebrate National Park Week, from April 20-28, 2013. Fee free days will be offered at Badlands, a fee park, beginning on Earth Day, Monday, April 22 and extending through Friday, April 26.
Come visit us at our Badlands Ben Reifel Visitor Center, open from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. daily, and at Minuteman Missile's Visitor Center, open 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday, and 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Enjoy the vastness of the southwestern South Dakota scenery-soaring spires and pinnacles amidst the pristine beauty of the prairie. A visit to both the North and South Units of the Badlands can also inspire a greater appreciation of this landscape's cultural histories. Next door, explore the role of the Midwest in America's Cold War history at Minuteman Missile by visiting the Delta-9 missile silo and Delta-1 Launch Control Center.
Explore some of the outdoor features at Badlands in your own celebration of Earth Day. The Castle Trail (ten miles round trip) offers expansive views and a relatively level walk. Cliff Shelf Trail is a moderately strenuous loop that follows boardwalks and climbs stairs through a juniper forest perched along the Badlands Wall. The Window Trail is a 0.25 mile trail leading to a natural window in the Badlands Wall with a view of an intricately eroded canyon. There is truly a walking route for everyone at Badlands, so get out there and take a hike!
For the first day of National Park Week (April 20), Minuteman Missile will be featuring ranger-guided tours conducted by a former Minuteman missile systems engineer. Re-live the Cold War experience with someone who actually worked here preventing war and preserving peace! Minuteman Missile offers daily tours of its Delta-1 Launch Control Center at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Missile silo Delta-9 (I-90, Exit 116) is also open to the public daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tour tickets for Delta-1 are given out on a first come, first served basis by coming to the Visitor Center, located in Cactus Flat, off I-90 at Exit 131.
Badlands will be hosting Artists-in-Residence Jessica Bryant and Judy Thompson. The artists have been working with students on watercolors, and the role art has played in the history and development ofour National Parks. The park is also featuring a video from former Teacher-Ranger-Teacher Larry McAfee, a reflection on Larry's travels through 52 of our 59 national parks.
Visitors to the parks during Earth Day weekend are encouraged to visit Cedar Pass Lodge in Badlands National Park. The Lodge features locally sourced & sustainable gift and artwork of the region and the restaurant offers South Dakota sourced entrees and desserts including kuchen and South Dakota State University ice cream. For more information on lodging in the park go to http://cedarpasslodge.com/.
Hikers expecting to be out longer than 30 minutes should pack water and food. Be prepared for extreme changes in weather, including sudden wind storms, rain, snow or lightning. Hike safely and enjoy your parks.
For more information see the Badlands website or the Minuteman website. www.nps.gov/badl. Follow us on Twitter @BadlandsEdu, @Badlands_Ranger, and @MIMI_Ranger, or on Facebook at Badlands National Park and MinutemanMissileNHS.