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Contact: Tom Farrell, 605-745-1130
WIND CAVE NATIONAL PARK, SD: Six trees were planted and a historic plaque unveiled in celebration of National Public Lands Day at Wind Cave National Park Saturday, September 24.The newly formed Friends of Wind Cave National Park provided the labor as trees were replanted around the visitor center in order to preserve one of the park's cultural landscapes. The new trees replace trees originally planted in 1937 by the Civilian Conservation Corp.
"We really appreciate the help the Friends group gave us," said park superintendent Vidal Davila. "This was an excellent way to celebrate National Public Lands Day which is set aside each year to appreciate our parks and to help in protecting and maintaining them for generations to come."
Davila and Friends president Lon Sharp also unveiled a bronze plaque honoring Stephen Mather, the first director of the National Park Service. The park acquired the plaque in the 1930s but it had been in storage since a visitor center remodeling project in 1979. The plaque is now installed on a boulder adjacent to the visitor center.
"This was a great opportunity to begin a long-term relationship with Wind Cave," said Friends president Lon Sharp. "We had a strong response from our members on a picture perfect day to be in the park."
Free tours of the cave were also offered Saturday. Over 600 people toured the fifth-longest cave in the world. For additional tour information for this fall, visit the park's website at www.nps.gov/wica.