Black Hills

Wacipi 101 Educates People Ahead Of Weekend Pow Wow

Oct 4, 2016
Lee Strubinger / SDPB

The 30th annual Black Hills Pow Wow is this weekend at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City. 

While the event is open to all, many non-natives may lack a basic understanding of what happens at a pow wow. A Wacipi 101 course was given Tuesday night to educate those interested in learning more. 

Wacipi means “to dance.” And there will be plenty of dancing at the Black Hills National Pow Wow this weekend.

Dakota Midday: New Black Hills Forest Supervisor Mark Van Every

Sep 29, 2016
Black Hills National Forest

The Black Hills National Forest has a new supervisor.  

Mark Van Every oversees everything on Forest Service land in the Black Hills from the effort to fight forest fires and pine beetles to efforts to ensure public access and protect public resources.

Van Every took the helm in the new position this summer.    He’s now had some time to settle into the job, and he sat down in the Rapid City studio with SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray.  Click play below to hear the interview.

Jerry Krueger / Black Hills National Forest

U.S. Forest Service officials want public input on a plan to make the Black Hills more resilient in the future.   

The goal of the Black Hills Resilient Landscapes Project is to make the forest ready for a changing climate.  That includes challenges like the pine beetle epidemic and a potential for increased forest fires.

Forest service officials say much of the Black Hills has moved away from the desired conditions described in a Management Plan created 20 years ago.

Earl Brockelsby

This week marks the 100th anniversary of National Parks. We’re kicking off a series of segments on National Parks with the story of a single Badlands cedar tree, loved by one family for generations.

This cedar sits on a point surrounded by steep cliffs in the Badlands National Park.    It resembles a Japanese bonsai. It’s gnarled, twisted, and bent by the relentless wind.

Kenzie Wagner / SDPB

Regional economic developers at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally want more companies to call the Black Hills their home. They view the rally as a chance to network with businesses while promoting the region.

Grant Given To Preserve Black Hills Trails

Aug 10, 2016
Black Hills Resource Conservation and Development

A couple of conservation groups are putting together a program to preserve Black Hills trails. The proposed program would educate visitors on ethical trail use.

Two Lost Hikers In Badlands Found

Jul 28, 2016
Courtesy Badlands National Park

Authorities have found a pair of hikers who went missing last night in the Badlands.  The two women from Vermont got lost near the Sage Creek Campground.

A search party found the women unharmed about two miles from their campsite. Patty Garland is with the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office. She says authorities with the Pennington County Search and Rescue Team, Sheriffs Office and the National Park Rangers found the hikers Thursday morning. 

Garland says the women tried to use their cell phones to contact help, but coverage was not reliable.

South Dakota Magazine Managing Editor John Andrews previews the July/August issue - everything from a Native American christening ceremony to the Black Hills.

Kenzie Wagner / SDPB

Two business leaders in Rapid City spoke at the Black Hills Forum and Press Club on Friday to discuss the ups and downs of South Dakota’s economy, including what lies ahead.

Ben Snow is with Rushmore Region, the group promotes economic development. He says South Dakota is protected from recessions more so than other places in the U.S.

Historian Bill Swanson discusses the national interests that made the Gold Rush into the Black Hills a necessity. We’ll talk about the economic, political, and military factors that guaranteed the Black Hills would be “invaded.”

Bill Swanson teaches at Lemmon High School. He has been teaching about Black Hills ghost towns through the Black Hills Learning Center since 1999. His lecture on the Gold Rush into the Black Hills is part of Picnic on the Lawn at the Historic Adams House in Deadwood, Friday, June 24 at noon.

Lori Walsh speaks with SDPB’s Brian Gevik. He’ll discuss the upcoming Images of the Past documentary “Trails, Rails, and Roads of the Black Hills.” The new original documentary airs tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. CT, 7:00 p.m. MT.

Trio Accused Of Contract Killing Plead Not Guilty

Jun 14, 2016

Three men accused of stabbing a woman to death last year and hiding her body in a shallow grave near Rockerville have pleaded not guilty to a variety of charges against them, including first-degree murder. 

The Mickelson Trail cuts through the middle of the Black Hills. But it doesn’t connect to Mount Rushmore.

A new non-motorized path could change this. The Forest Service is taking public comments on the proposed Rushmore Connector Trail.

The path would zig-zag across national forest land, starting at Hill City and eventually ending at the Mount Rushmore parking lot.  

Officials say SD Game, Fish & Parks applied for a permit to construct the roughly 16 mile trail about three years ago.  

Artifacts Roadshow At Vore Buffalo Jump

Jun 8, 2016
Kenzie Wagner / SDPB

The Vore Buffalo Jump is off the beaten path, but just barely. It’s about 300 feet from Interstate 90 near the town of Beulah, in the Wyoming part of the Black Hills.   

Archaeologists, scientists, and tourists frequent the site to learn about Native people who hunted buffalo using the natural sinkhole starting in the late 1500’s.

The Vore Buffalo jump was discovered during the construction of Interstate 90. Native people used the steep slopes of the sinkhole to capture buffalo.

Drought Expected To Persist In Black Hills

Jun 7, 2016
U.S. Drought Portal

Temperatures are expected to remain above normal over the next few weeks throughout the central Missouri River Basin. In South Dakota, the South Eastern corner of the state is above normal precipitation. But elsewhere, like in the Black Hills, drought conditions are expected to persist.

This week’s Images of the Past takes powers us through the northern Black Hills on the railroads of the late 1800s. Wayne Pananen joins us to discuss the dangers and mystique of rail travel through the South Dakota.

Dakota Midday: Deborah Mitchell's "Refuge" Exhibit

May 11, 2016

Artist Deborah Mitchell’s exhibition “Refuge” opens this weekend at the Dahl Arts Center in Rapid City. It’s a meditation on refuge on a global and personal scale. Mitchell recently received a South Dakota Arts Council Artist’s Fellowship. She immersed herself in the beauty of the Black Hills, walking and drawing every day. She sits down with Dakota Midday host Lori Walsh to talk about the refuge of work, the refuge of art, and the refuge of contemplation.

Storm Hill Fire Closes Highways 16 & 385 Saturday Night

Apr 24, 2016
Jim Strain / South Dakota Division of Wildland Fire

The Storm Hill Fire kept crews busy this weekend in the Black Hills.    The fire is burning on about 193 acres near Hill City.  

It forced the closure of two major Black Hills highways for a few hours on Saturday night and into Sunday morning.  

Officials continue to warn drivers to watch for emergency vehicles around the three forks area on Highways 16 and 385.

Cyd Janssen  is with Great Plains Fire Information.   She says cooler temperatures and higher humidity are helping fire crews get the upper hand.  

$10 Million Settlement In Gilt Edge Cleanup

Apr 18, 2016
Amy Varland

Federal and State officials have secured $10 million in a settlement agreement for cleanup of the Gilt Edge Superfund site.

In the late 1990’s, the company operating the open pit gold mine in the Northern Black Hills went bankrupt and abandoned the site. Part of the effort to pay for on-going reclamation includes settlement agreements with the private companies involved in the former operation.

Black Hills State University's Dr. David Wolff recently retired in order to spend  more time with his research. Today he joins Dakota Midday to talk about violence and death on the Black Hills mining frontier. From stagecoach robberies to vigilante justice, Wolff separates the pulp fiction from the fact as he talks with Dakota Midday host Lori Walsh.

Citizens Join Porcupine Research at Devils Tower

Apr 5, 2016
Devils Tower National Monument

Prickly rodents are stealing the spotlight at Devils Tower National Monument as researchers and citizens look into the often forgotten lives of porcupines. There are about 12 porcupines who make their home at the Tower, and as you can imagine attaching a radio tracking device to one involves some effort.

Residents On Road To Rushmore Decry Quarry Expansion Plan

Apr 4, 2016

UPDATE:  Pennington County commissioners rejected the proposed expansion of this limestone quarry.
Attorney Tom Brady says the company is weighing its options.

Original story:

The proposed expansion of a rock quarry on a main road to Mount Rushmore has inflamed a dispute between the quarry operator and some local residents and business owners. The Pennington County Commission is holding a meeting on Tuesday the 5th to consider zoning of the quarry and a possible expansion. 

Winds And Warm Weather Push Cold Fire

Apr 3, 2016
Jerry Krueger / Black Hills National Forest

A wildfire burning in the Southern Black Hills has now consumed about 1,900 acres.

The Cold Fire was reported on Saturday afternoon about four miles east of the town of Pringle near Highway 87.   

 High winds, low humidity and warmer than average weather fanned the flames and forced a rapid spread.  

Officials say, early on the fire posed an imminent threat to one ranch but crews were able to save the structures from burning.   

Currently several roads are closed in the affected area.  

The famed J.B. Haggin locomotive is on permanent display at the Adams Museum in Deadwood. Archivist Jessica Michak explains the story of the the museum's most photographed artifact. From the day an engineer drove it into the museum to what it's like to dust a five ton locomotive, Images of the Past shines a light on a vibrant time in Black Hills history.

Black Hills FLDS Compound Leader Arrested

Feb 23, 2016

Federal prosecutors indicted top leaders of Warren Jeffs' polygamous sect for food stamp fraud and money laundering.

Officials with U.S. Attorney's Office say leaders of the sect diverted funds from Utah's nutrition assistance program for inappropriate use.

 Eleven people are charged in the scheme, including Lyle Jeffs and Seth Jeffs, who are brothers of imprisoned polygamous leader Warren Jeffs.  

Northern Hills Mine Put On Hold

Jan 22, 2016
Charles Michael Ray

A proposed rare earth mine in the Bear Lodge Mountains of Wyoming is on hold.   

The Bear Lodge sit just north of the Black Hills near the state line.  The mining company Rare Element Resources is backing the project.  Mine officials say a deposit in the area contains a high volume of minerals needed in the production of batteries and computer components.

The summer of 1927 brought President and Mrs. Calvin Coolidge to the Black Hills of South Dakota for a stay that extended throughout the summer.

From Grace Coolidge's walk in the woods that led her astray to President Coolidge's announcement that he would not seek reelection, Gary Enright, Director of the 1881 Courthouse Museum, details the highlights of the "Summer White House" in South Dakota.

First Nations Sculpture Garden Moves Toward Goal

Jan 1, 2016
First Nations Sculpture Garden

A new installment in a downtown Rapid City park aims to recognize the history of Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people in this region and highlight contributions of 20th century Native Americans.

 The First Nations Sculpture Garden has broken ground in Halley Park in the center of Rapid City and organizers are now working toward their fundraising goal in order to finish the project.

University of Akron

The caves of the Black Hills are among the longest in the world, and new research shows they may also contain some of the purest water on earth.

The lakes in Wind Cave and the newly discovered bodies of water in Jewel Cave are a treasure trove for microbiologists who study the rare bacteria that have evolved in the untouched and dark underground water of the Madison Aquifer.

Dakota Midday: BH Power VP On Clean Power Plan

Nov 10, 2015
Black Hills Power

We’re continuing a series of interviews on energy and the environment with a conversation with Vance Crocker Vice President of Operations for Black Hills Power.

Last week we heard from Dr. Bull Bennett  an author of the Third National Climate Assessment on the necessity to deal with global warming.