Here is a summary of some of our past public events:
A reunion of former and current employees and friends of the park will occur on Friday and Saturday, July 8 and 9. There will be special events at the park ending with a banquet at the Mueller Center in Hot Springs Saturday night. Everyone is welcome. For dinner reservations visit www.nps.gov/wica.
The American Solar Challenge is a college competition to design, build and drive solar powered cars in a cross-country time and distance rally event. This year's course will begin in Cuyahoga National Park in Ohio and travel 1800 miles through nine natinal parks before ending at Wind Cave on Saturday, August 6.
The park's celebration will wrap up in December, as the Centennial serves as the theme for this year's Christmas in the Hills celebration.
In recognition of National Public Lands Day, September 24, Wind Cave National Park joined many other federal sites across the nation to offer a work project for volunteers. Members of Friends of Wind Cave National Park enjoyed helped at the Sanson Ranch bison jump site with the removal of seed heads of invasive Mullein plants. The weather was a perfect example of seasonal comfort and Friends and park staff enjoyed working comaraderie and successfully cleared the immediate area of most of this year's Mullein seed heads.
August 25 marked the 100th anniversay of the National Park Service. Friends of Wind Cave provided the cake and ice cream for the public "birthday party" at the park headquarters visitor center. Friends also co-funded the performance of Gordie Pratt who appeared as singer/reenactor, Seth Bullock, famous old west character in the Black Hills and first superintendent of the park. That evening program was well attended at the camp ground amphitheater and, again, Friends supplied cake and ice cream refreshments at the close of the celebration.
On consecutive Thursdays, June 16 and June 23, a group of Friends volunteers joined Wind Cave National Park staff to establish the first walking trail for interpreting the bison jump at the Sanson Ranch addition. Natioanl Park Service archeologists assisted in assuring the trail did not impact sensative areas. The volunteers then used weed eaters, rakes and other hand tools to physically create the winding walking path that created a semi-circular route from the historic ranch to the both base and top of the bison jump.
On Saturday, May 21, the park participated in the National Park Service-wide BioBlitz Weekend. The focus of the Wind Cave BioBlitz was birds with volunteers focused on recording bird sightings, especially spring migrants. Festivities included beginner and family bird walks, bird banding demonstrations, live raptors and a bird box construction workshop. Species data from all BioBlitzes throughout the country were entered into a central "Base Station" and broadcast on a large screen on the Natinal Mall in Washington, D.C.
The Park celebrated National Park Week April 16-24, with free tours. South Dakota's National Park Treasurers, through the Voices of Our Youth, partners area national parks with elementary school classes in Custer and Porcupine to work with Native American songwriter and performer Mr. Sequoia Crosswhite to write an original piece of music about each park. The musical premiere occured on April 19 in Custer with a later performance in Porcupine.
July 25, 2015
Friends of Wind Cave National Park hosted a program and reception at the Park Visitor Center auditorium on the most recent findings at Persistence Cave. The event attracted a standing room only crowd of nearly 100 persons. The program detailed a collaboration of Park personnel and staff from the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs.
Friends of Wind Cave National Park and national park staff worked together for a two day event commemorating the successful reintroduction of bison to their native range at Wind Cave.
On August 16 an evening program at the park visitor center filled TWO presentation rooms to overflowing, standing room only! Attendees heard Tom Farrell, Chief Of Interpretation, present "The Return of the Bison: The decision that shaped Wind Cave National Park. Following that audio/visual program, the award winning documentary "The Vanishing Prairie" was shown.
On August 17 a well attended interpretative hiking tour called "Exploring the Past: A Visit to the Forgotten Wind Cave National Game Preserve" gave on site understanding to the century old efforts to reintroduce bison.
In Hot Springs, Friends of Wind Cave National Park organized a celebration event at the Mueller Civic Center. From 10 am to 5 pm there was an outdoor artist fair with artists who honor the American Bison in their work. Food vendors added to the atmosphere and displays and informal workshops were presented including authentic buffalo hide native craft, stone tool making and more. At 5:30 pm Susan Ricci, Director of the American Bison Museum, presented an educational historical lecture from the Mueller Center Stage.
The days activities were highlighted with the evening performance of Grammy Music Awards entry Jack Gladstone. Also known as Montana's Blackfeet Troubadour, Jack traveled from far western Montana to entertain the theater crowd with a blend of story telling and original song.
Public Lands Day was commemorated with a joint work day activity, with Friends of Wind Cave National Park volunteers joining with National Park staff to make improvements on the new Sanson Ranch addition property. The park provided equipment and transportation and Friends volunteers donned leather gloves. The work group spent about 1/2 a day in strenuous labor removing three different sections of internal barbed wire fencing, removing all posts and rolling up wire. Weather cooperated for a perfect event and the group was privileged to enjoy a brief stop atop the vista overlooking the entire new section of park.
Friends of Wind Cave National Park hosted the Sanson Ranch Celebration on July 7, 2012. The event provided participants the chance to experience the newest addition to Wind Cave National Park, the 5556 acre acquisiton of the Sanson Ranch.
Park personnel were on hand at the homestead era ranch to share various alternatives (still under development) for interpretation of the ranch additon to the park, taking addional formal input from the public. Park rangers guided tours to the prehistoric buffalo jump just a short hike from the ranch, with tours throughout the day. An additional hike of four miles duration was led to the highest point on the new property, offering spectaular views of the surroundings. All park led activities were free to the public.
About 200 participants enjoyed an authentic "chuck wagon" supper with the mouth watering flavors of the old west. They reveled in the sounds of live western music while they dined, provided courtesy of the Ramblin Rangers musical duo, Brad and Bonne Exton. The event was held under a "big top" tent and was capped by a vigorous, educational and highly entertaining performance by Teddy Roosevelt. Teddy told of his life in the west and the "Big Idea" that established Wind Cave National Park in 1903. Teddy was performed by premier re-enactor Joe Wiegand, a performer whose credentials include appearances at the White House. The Sanson Ranch Celebration served as the inaugural fund raising event for Friends of Wind Cave National Park.
Joe Wiegand is regarded as the premiere Theodore Roosevelt Reprisor in the country. In 2008, Wiegand was joined by his wife, daughter and golden retriever in a fifty state tour, highlighted by performances at Theodore Roosevelt’s birthplace and at the White House. Wiegand is a political science graduate of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, and a former graduate assistant at the Center for Governmental Studies at Northern Illinois University. Joe is a Harry S Truman Scholar, a Thomas Watson Fellow and an active member of the National Association for Interpretation and Rotary International. Wiegand, who lives with his family in Sewanee, Tennessee, continues his national TR Tour with details at www.teddyrooseveltshow.com. (Photo credit MarkGlennStudio.com)
Authentic western dining, chuck wagon style!
Brad and Bonnie Exton bring cowboy music alive!
Rangers conducted guided tours to the nearby "buffalo jump."
This historic ranch was the site of the "Sanson Ranch Celebration."