Service Animals

Jewel Cave National Monument does allow service animals on Discovery Talks only. Service animals are also allowed within the visitor center and historic cabin at the Jewel Cave Historic Area.


Service animals for persons with disabilities have traditionally been understood to be guide dogs for blind individuals and hearing assistance dogs for persons with hearing impairments. Since these animals provide service for persons with disabilities, they are not considered to be pets and, consequently, are not regulated as pets. Accordingly, they have been allowed to go into areas where pets are traditionally prohibited.


Service animals are defined as, "any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items."


Due to the concern for cave preservation and protection, as well as wildlife management issues on the surface, Jewel Cave National Monument's regulation allows the closing of an area to the use of service animals if it is determined that the service animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of people or wildlife.


In determining whether a service animal poses a direct threat, individualized assessments based on current scientific knowledge or on the best available objective evidence to ascertain the nature, duration and severity of the risks have been taken into account and less restrictive measures will not suffice.

Currently pets are permitted in the following areas:

  • On roadways and in parking lots open to public vehicular traffic
  • In picnic areas

Note: Pets and Service Animals present in areas not permitted, open themselves to potential issues with wildlife, as well as posing a significant danger to the handler and other visitors.


Visit the Americans with Disabilities Act web page for more information about service animal regulations.

Last updated: August 2, 2018

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11149 U.S. Hwy. 16
Building B12

Custer, SD 57730

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(605) 673-8300

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