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Contact: Bradley Block, 605-673-8330
Jewel Cave National Monument is happy to announce that it will be open seven days each week this winter, excluding Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Days. The visitor center will be open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. However, beginning Monday, November 28, a limited tour schedule will be available; Scenic Tours and Discovery Talks are only slated for Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
The one hour and 20-minute Scenic Tour is scheduled at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. The 20-minute, wheelchair accessible Discovery Talk is offered at 9:05 a.m., 12:45 p.m., and 3:45 p.m. All cave tours during the off-season are first come first serve; reservations are not taken during the winter months.
Superintendent Bonnie Schwartz states, “For the past three years, the Monument has faced several operational challenges and had consequently been closed for two days each week during the off-season. We recognize that visitors were still traveling through the area, and our local park enthusiasts often wanted to spend time on, and in our case, below their public lands. Because of this, we are committed to being open every day and offering visitor services during the winter of 2016-2017.”
The Monument is also embarking on an off-season Volunteer-In-Parks training program in late November, with several Visitor Center Host applicants expanding their duties to conduct guided cave tours, interpretive talks, and trail hikes. Upon completion of this training, we hope that the Monument’s programming schedule will be enhanced with additional cave tours and expanded visitor services on weekdays. For anyone wishing to take part in this training, please apply online for the Visitor Center Host position at www.Volunteer.gov; interested applicants are encouraged to search for South Dakota or Jewel Cave.
Schwartz further comments, “The Monument was fortunate this past summer to have some incredibly dedicated volunteers from the local communities help with our program schedule. The generous volunteers supported the NPS Centennial Goal of connecting with and creating the next generation of park visitors, supporters, and advocates. With these new volunteer recruits coming on board, we are truly excited for the future and the next 100 years!”
For more information about Jewel Cave National Monument, please contact the visitor center at 605-673-8300.