Wind Cave National Park

Taylor Robinson & Krystal Lamb

History & Attractions

Wind Cave National Park was established on January 9, 1903 by Theodore Roosevelt. It was the eighth U.S. national park and and the first cave to be designated a national park anywhere in the world. Around 95% of the world's discovered boxwork formations are found in Wind Cave. The first discovery of the cave by white Americans was in 1881, when the Bingham brothers heard wind rushing out from a "hole in the ground". Over a million people visit Wind Cave National Park every year. Attractions include horseback riding, hiking, guided tours of the park, backcountry camping, and tours of the cave.

Wind Cave National Park, est. 1903

Why was the Park Protected?

Several mining claims established at Wind Cave, most noteworthy being South Dakota Mining Company in 1890, McDonald hired to manage the claim. The mining was unsuccessful but McDonald’s family realized they could make money by giving cave tours and selling formations from the cave. Another family, the Stablers merged with the McDonald's to create the Wonderful Wind Cave Improvement Company. After J.D.'s son, Alvin, passed away, the Stablers believed they had complete claim to the cave now. The Department of the Interior decided that since no mining or proper homesteading had taken place, neither party had no claim to the cave. The area around the cave was then withdrawn from homesteading. Two years later, President Roosevelt signed the bill creating Wind Cave National Park. The Park has served a major role in returning native wildlife to the prairie.


10 miles north of the town Hot Springs in South Dakota

Protection Laws Enacted and Other Facts

  1. No Firearms
  2. No hunting the animals
  3. Do not take anything out of the cave
  4. March 4, 1931: Expanded boundaries of park by 1,200 acres to provide water sources to the animals

Wind Cave is the seventh longest cave in the world. Some of the animals at the park include Pronghorn, Coyotes, Mountain Lions, Elk, and Bison.

What do Roosevelt's environmental policies reveal about the Progressive Era?

Because of all the developing technology before and during the Progressive Era, people were using a lot of natural resources, land, and polluting the air around them. People didn't realize what they were doing to the environment. Conservationists called for federal supervision of the nation's resources, and President Roosevelt helped them. He realized how wasteful people in America were being and established National Parks to help conserve and save the environment.

Wind Cave National Park - South Dakota - PureAmerica