A series of public meetings are being held across western South Dakota this week by the National Park Service. This is the last opportunity to offer comments on the Visitor Use Plan for the recent Casey Addition to Wind Cave National Park.
Wind Cave National Park has pursued public comments on a Visitor Use Plan since the Casey Addition was obtained in September 2011. The expansion of the park at that time consisted of a 5500-acre ranch that included a historic house and an ancient buffalo jump.
Spokesperson Tom Farrell says this week’s meetings will examine the options for visitor use of the Casey Addition obtained from scoping meetings held by Wind Cave National Park in 2012.
“By legislation we have to have a no action alternative where we basically just keep things the way they are,” explains Farrell. “Alternative B calls for a parking lot about a quarter-mile away for the house and it also has an overlook for accessibility so you can see the overlook but you don’t get close to it. Alternative C has a parking lot very close to the ranch structures along with the overlook and a self-guided interpretive trail.”
Farrell adds that Alternative D – the preferred alternative – has the parking lot further away from the ranch house. Both Alternatives C and D also call for creating hiking trails and pull-offs along adjacent roads.
Public comment meetings are in Rapid City, Custer and Hot Springs on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday consecutively. Written comments are being accepted until December 19.