National Public Lands Day Across S.D. Region

Sep 23, 2016

Several volunteer projects have been completed by Scout Rangers visiting Jewel National Monument during 2016.
Credit Courtesy National Park Service
Tomorrow is National Public Lands Day. It’s the time of year when visitors are encouraged to take part in volunteer conservation or enjoy a variety of outdoor activities on their favorite public lands.  We checked in with National Park Service locations across the region to see what each has planned for the special day.

Whether you feel like traveling next-door to Wyoming or Minnesota or prefer to just hike down the road to your nearest National Park Service site South Dakota has many choices for National Public Lands Day.

Supervisory Park Ranger Cody Goraczkowski says Pipestone National Monument in Minnesota is hosting its usual hands-on public land activity.

Big Blue Stem prairie grass in the Fall at Pipestone National Monument.
Credit Courtesy National Park Service

“We have volunteers assist with the seed collection from the native tall grass prairie,” Goraczkowski explains. “And then we use those seeds to continue restoration of prairie within the monument here.” 

Travel across the Prarie about 430 miles west and you will find Wind Cave National Park. This Park is also hosting a “get out and touch the scenery” activity says spokesperson Tom Farrell.

“We’re going to go out in the morning and we’re going to be cutting and removing mullein…which is an exotic plant that has patches in the park,” comments Farrell. “And so we’re hoping to try to kind of remove that exotic and make the park a little bit more healthier.”

Up the road a piece at Jewel Cave National Monument Ranger Riley Hays says Junior Rangers are invited to learn about everyone’s favorite October topic.

“We will discuss bats and how they are important to our ecosystem and do some fun bat crafts,” Hays explains. “And then we will have some volunteer projects. Some things like building picnic tables, raking some pine needles around the area and even some stuff in the cave as well.”

Common Mullein
Credit S.D. Dept. of Agriculture

If Badlands National Park is in your sights you’re welcome to visit but Ranger Christine says many staff members may be at another location.

“We will be assisting Minuteman Missile National Historic Site with their grand opening for their Visitor Center and new exhibits that were just installed a couple of months ago.”

And if you feel like traveling west Devil’s Tower National Monument is not only celebrating National Public Lands Day but its 110th anniversary as well.

No matter where you choose to go Mount Rushmore’s Maureen McGee Ballenger says it’s a perfect opportunity to get out and enjoy your favorite public lands.

Note: NPLD is a fee-free day for all federal public lands and many state parks. 

Related links: 

National Public Lands Day 

https://www.neefusa.org/public-lands-day  Pipestone National Monument https://www.nps.gov/pipe/index.htm  Wind Cave National Park https://www.nps.gov/wica/index.htm  Jewel Cave National Monument https://www.nps.gov/jeca/index.htm  Badlands National Park https://www.nps.gov/badl/index.htm  Minuteman Missile National Historic Site https://www.nps.gov/mimi/index.htm  Devil’s Tower National Monument https://www.nps.gov/deto/index.htm  Mount Rushmore National Memorial https://www.nps.gov/moru/index.htm  

New Visitor Center at Minuteman Missile National Historic Site.
Credit Courtesy National Park Service