Visitor Use Plan/ EA for Casey Addition to Wind Cave National Park
In the spring of 2012, Wind Cave National Park began the planning process for a recently acquired 5,556-acre parcel of land adjacent to its southern boundary. The land was purchased using Land and Water Conservation funds in September 2011. At the present time, the Superintendent has closed the area to the public until this Visitor Use Plan/ Environmental Assessment (EA) is completed.
As a result of the public scoping conducted last spring, the park realized it did not have enough information to proceed. Thus, the plan is on hold until December. In the interim, the park has started four research studies to provide needed information. These studies are:
• An inventory of the vegetation found around the historic Sanson Ranch buildings and nearby buffalo jump. This will insure nothing in the plan affects any rare native plants or sensitive native plant communities.
• A determination of eligibly for the National Register of Historic Places of the ranch buildings. This will determine if the ranch structures are eligible to be placed on the National Register and should be preserved.
• A Traditional Cultural Property inventory to determine what ethnographic resources are in the area.
• An archeology investigation of the ranch and buffalo jump to determine if the cliff was used as a buffalo jump and to learn what cultural resources are in the area.
The park expects to resume work on the Visitor Use Plan this winter and hope to have the draft alternatives of the EA available for public review next spring. This delay has also changed the focus of the plan from an interim plan to an implementation plan. The National Park Service is also working on a Zone Management Plan for the park. This plan will look at the park as a whole and how the new land fits into it. This delay will allow the Zone Management Plan to develop broad alternatives for which the Visitor Use Plan will then serve as the implementation plan.
If you care to comment on the plan, click on the link to the upper left.
Tom Farrell, 605-745-1130