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Contact: Tom Farrell, 605-745-4600
WIND CAVE NATIONAL PARK, S.D. – Wind Cave National Park is soliciting comments on a draft elk management plan/environmental impact statement (EIS) written to manage the park’s elk population. The park is seeking comments regarding the plan’s adequacy in addressing the plan’s purpose, need and objectives, environmental issues of concern, and the sufficiency of the overall analysis. The comment period runs until August 18.
The draft plan/EIS analyzed three action alternatives for initial herd reduction and two additional action alternatives used only for maintenance of the herd at target population levels. The preferred alternative focuses on hunting elk on public and private lands outside the park. This would involve raising the fence along the southwest portion of the park boundary and installing gates around the park to ensure that the target number of elk are outside the park during hunting season.
“This plan will not only establish elk population levels that are in balance with the park’s ecosystem,” said park superintendent Vidal Davila, “but it will determine how we will maintain that population level to protect natural resources within the park and land uses outside the park boundary.”
A series of public meetings, including a brief presentation on Wind Cave’s elk management and the planning process, will be held across the state to provide project information and gather comments about the draft plan/EIS. These open house meetings will be conducted from 6 to 8:30 p.m. with a presentation at 6:30 p.m. Open house locations and dates are:
Sioux Falls, Monday, July 21, at the SD Game, Fish and Parks Outdoor Campus on Oxbow Avenue;
Pierre, Tuesday, July 22, at the Best Western Ramkota on Sioux Avenue;
Hot Springs, Wednesday, July 23, at the Mueller Center on 6th Street;
Custer, Thursday, July 24, at The Bavarian Inn Restaurant on Highway 16 and 385 North.
For more information, and for an on-line copy of the EIS, visit https://parkplanning.nps.gov/wica. Comments can be submitted via that website or they can be mailed to Superintendent; Wind Cave National Park; 26611 U.S. Highway 385; Hot Springs, SD 57747-9430. Your entire comment, including your personal identifying information, may be made public at any time.
Printed copies of the EIS are available for review at the Custer, Hot Springs, and Rapid City libraries and at the park visitor center. Contact the park at 605/745-4600 for a copy on a compact disc (CD).