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Contact: Tom Farrell, 605-745-4600
WIND CAVE NATIONAL PARK, S.D. – Holiday events at Wind Cave National Park begin with the annual Christmas bird count on Sunday, December 14, followed by the park’s holiday open house on Wednesday, December 17.
The park’s fourteenth annual Christmas Bird Count is patterned after the National Audubon Society’s effort to document trends in wintering birdlife throughout the United States. The count area will include all of Wind Cave National Park and areas of the Black Hills National Forest and Custer State Park.
People wishing to participate should meet at the park visitor center at 8 a.m. Participants are asked to dress warmly, bring a lunch, field guides and binoculars, something to share for dinner and a place setting. Participants will return to the park’s VIP Center at 4:15 p.m. to compile results and share in a potluck dinner. For more information, contact Barb Muenchau or Dan Roddy at 745-4600.
The open house on December 17 will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the visitor center. Light refreshments will be served, and students from the Hot Springs’ third grade will sing carols at 1 p.m. The visitor center Christmas tree will be decorations by the students.
“The open house is a wonderful way to meet park staff and share season greetings,” said park superintendent Vidal Davila. “It is a time of year when we look forward to renewing friendships and meeting new local residents.”
The public will be able to view park exhibits and browse through the visitor center’s bookstore which is operated by the Black Hills Parks and Forests Association. Cave tours will also be offered, as they are throughout the winter, at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.
The visitor center and cave will be closed on Christmas and New Years to allow staff to celebrate the holidays with their families. Throughout the remainder of the winter, the visitor center will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.