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Contact: Bradley Block, 605-673-8330
Contact: Tom Farrell, 605-745-1130
WIND CAVE NATIONAL PARK, SD – Jewel Cave National Monument and Wind Cave National Park will be offering free tours on Saturday, September 27, as part of National Public Lands Day. Additionally, each area will also host volunteer projects for a special day of service and celebration.
“National Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands,” said Vidal Dávila, Superintendent of Wind Cave National Park. “Both caves are offering volunteer opportunities and will be part of the more than 2,200 sites across the country with people beautifying the land, improving their fitness, and enjoying the outdoors.”
People interested in volunteering at Jewel Cave on this special event date are encouraged to report to the visitor center by 10 a.m. Interested volunteers will be improving a fireline for a planned prescription fire this fall, by removing dead and downed materials.
The Friends of Wind Cave National Park will be working on a revegetation project, planting native seeds along a recently buried utility line. People interested in helping out are encouraged to meet at the park visitor center at 8 a.m. dressed for the weather with work gloves and water. The work project ends around noon; participants will then return to the headquarters area for a free lunch. Email email@example.com if you would like to participate. Group size is limited to 15 people.
Acting Superintendent Mike Wiles of Jewel Cave states, “The early autumn season is a beautiful time to visit natural sites in the Black Hills and experience the fall scenery. As the construction projects come to an end within and around the monument, this special event date will be a great time.”
Anyone interested in touring one of the caves for free is encouraged to arrive early. All tours begin at the respective visitor centers, and cave tour tickets will be issued on a first come, first served basis. This event can be extremely popular resulting in long wait times and possible “sold out” tours.
Jewel Cave visitors may choose either the Scenic Tour or Discovery Talk as their venture into the third longest cave in the world. The Scenic Tour provides an opportunity to view a variety of beautiful, colorful, and rare cave formations for which Jewel Cave is famous. This half-mile tour is moderately strenuous, follows a paved lighted trail with over 700 stairs, and lasts approximately an hour and twenty minutes. The Discovery Talk is a twenty-minute wheelchair accessible program, conducted in one large room of the cave. Cave tours begin at 9:20 a.m. with the last tour at 3:35 p.m.
Wind Cave will be offering Natural Entrance Tours beginning at 9 a.m. and continuing throughout the day until 4 p.m. These hour and fifteen minute tours are moderately strenuous and include 300 stairs, most of which go down. Cave temperatures at both caves are around 50 ºF. A light coat or sweater and sturdy walking shoes are recommended.
National Public Lands Day is a time to celebrate the heritage sites of the United States. All visitors are encouraged to explore these natural and cultural treasures and take the time to learn the significance behind each location. For more information, contact the visitor centers at 605-673-8300 (Jewel Cave) or 605-745-4600 (Wind Cave).