Wind Cave National Park

By: Kira Uebel and Hayden Spicer

Early Exploration and Discovery

The Wind Cave, which is located in South Dakota, was used and visited for centuries by Native American tribes and was very sacred to them. The cave was first discovered by non-natives in 1881 when Jesse and Tom Bingham heard the mysterious whistling that the cave made. The first person who was ever reported entering the cave was Charlie Cray in 1881.

The park is 28,295 acres!

The Wind Cave National Park sees over a million visitors annually, and the cave itself saw 109,335 visitors in 2015

When and Why the Park is Protected

Theodore Roosevelt signed the bill creating and protecting Wind Cave National Park in January 1903. This was the eighth protected park and the first protected cave in the United States. The Park is Protected because they wanted to stop the mining in the cave and they also wanted a new place to try to repopulate bison and elk on the park.

The park and cave is very popular and is open every day except Christmas Day, New Year's Day and Thanksgiving.

Some Protection Laws in the Park

  • Hunting on the park is absolutely prohibited, not including fishing.
  • No changes can be made to the cave
  • Visitors are not allowed to take rocks or any other materials out of the cave
  • Do not disturb wildlife

Attractions of the Park

Obviously one of the many attractions in Wind Cave National Park is the Wind Cave itself. The cave had over 100,000 visitors last year alone, and is the 6th largest cave in the United States. Many travelers come to the Wind Cave National Park to view the wildlife populations as well as the fields and fields of wildflowers and prairies.

Theodore Roosevelt's Environmental Policies

Theodore Roosevelt's environmental policies and ideals show that the Progressive Era was really trying to fix things. The Progressive Era was meant to fix the problems that the Gilded Age had created or covered up. One of the problems that the Gilded Age contributed was the pollution of land, water, and air. Theodore Roosevelt strove to protect as much land as possible in the United States and to ensure the wellness of America's wildlife and tried to make sure that future generations could see the beautiful wilderness of America.