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Contact: Bradley Block, 605-673-8330
Custer, SD – Jewel Cave National Monument is on track with a new parking lot by the fall season. The project began on April 1 and is scheduled for completion by September 30. At present, concrete has been poured for the overflow parking areas, and the main lot is getting prepped for concrete this next month. Furthermore, the foundation for a new ticket kiosk is in place, with the remaining structure being installed in the near future.
The patio area outside the visitor center is planned for work by mid-August. When this occurs, ticket sales will be routed to a temporary kiosk outside the facility near the service road. Signage and staff assistance will help guide visitors safely through the construction zone.
Acting Superintendent John F.Black states, "We are pleased with the progress being made with the parking lot. The design is finally taking shape with concrete being poured, and it will not be long before we can use some of the new spaces for our late summer guests. We are also excited to see the patio area coming along … which will create even better first impressions for future visitors."
Due to the various construction projects this year, advanced tour reservations are not being taken for the guided cave tours. Except for the Wild Caving Tour, all cave tour tickets are being sold on a first come first serve basis at a ticket kiosk just outside the visitor center. Interested visitors are encouraged to arrive early in the morning to have the most options for cave tours. The ticket kiosk opens near the visitor center at 8:00 a.m. daily through late August.
Black further comments, "Even with the construction, we are still witnessing full tours and strong visitation. Although there have been a few project challenges and traffic delays, most visitors have been very supportive of our efforts and have complemented our visitor services under the dusty circumstances."
For information relating to the summer tour schedule, visit Jewel Cave online at www.nps.gov/jeca and select the link for Operating Hours and Seasons.The visitor center is currently open daily from 8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. MT, with the first tour departing at 8:30 a.m. and the last tour entering the cave at 4:35 p.m. For planning assistance, visitors are also welcome to contact park staff at 605-673-8300.