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Contact: Bradley Block, 605-673-8330
Jewel Cave National Monument and Wind Cave National Park will be offering free tours on Saturday, September 30, as part of National Public Lands Day (NPLD). Additionally, Jewel Cave will host an assortment of volunteer projects for a special day of service and celebration.Volunteer activities at Jewel Cave begin at 10 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. Interested participants can join park staff for the entire day or for just a few hours. This year’s project focuses on a fenceline removal effort along Hwy 16 near the entrance to the Monument. All equipment will be provided; however, volunteers may wish to bring their own work gloves and wear sturdy shoes.
Bradley Block, Chief of Interpretation, states, “The early fall season is a beautiful time to get outdoors and experience the natural beauty of the Black Hills. Although summer offers the most visitation, autumn temperatures are often perfect for volunteerism. This September, celebrate something we all share … our public lands.”
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 adventure 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, with the last cave tour departing at 4:30 p.m. These one 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.
NPLD 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).