September 12, 2003
Tom Farrell, 605-745-1130
All cave tours and programs at Wind Cave National Park will be free to the visiting public on Saturday, September 20. This is in recognition of National Public Lands Day, an event inspired by the spirit of the 1930’s Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC).
This public works program, created by President Franklin Roosevelt, provided jobs and training to millions of young men during the Great Depression.
Park Superintendent Linda L. Stoll said, “It is only proper Wind Cave honors the work and spirit of the CCC. This park sponsored a CCC camp from 1934 to 1942. It was the establishment of this camp, and the resulting landscaping, building construction, and cave tour route improvements, that lead this park out of the depression and provided the infrastructure for the world-class resource that we have today. We hope people from surrounding cities and towns will use this opportunity to view and experience Wind Cave.”
Tours will be offered every fifteen to thirty minutes from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Visitors will travel along the Natural Entrance Tour route and view the boxwork cave formation for which the cave is world famous.
This half-mile tour is moderately strenuous with approximately 300 stairs, most all of them going down. A light coat or sweater is recommended for this 75-minute tour.
Other free activities planned Saturday include a presentation on the recent 32-million year old rhinoceros fossil found in the park. The program will begin at 1:30 p.m. in the Visitor Center Auditorium. It will be given by Rod Horrocks, Cave Management Specialist, who helped discover and recover the fossil and Catherine Burgess, a Cambridge University Graduate student, who is currently interning at the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs and reconstructing the jaw and teeth of the animal.
Superintendent Stoll said, “This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about our recent fossil discovery and talk with the people involved with the find and preservation of the specimens.”
The day ends with a ranger program listening for elk bugling beginning at 7 p.m. in the Elk Mountain Campground Amphitheater. A ranger will give a brief talk about elk before driving to a pullout to listen for the elk’s high-pitched bugle. Dress warmly and bring a flashlight.
All programs and tours Saturday, September 20, are free. For more information, call the park at 605-745-4600.