Visitor Use Plan/ EA for Casey Addition to Wind Cave National Park
In September 2011, Wind Cave National Park acquired a 5,556-acre ranch, called the Casey Addition, and is now determining the optimal way of providing public access to this land. A Visitor Use Plan and Environmental Assessment (EA) is needed to determine the best ways for the public to access and enjoy the unique historic and natural resources present on the Casey Addition while providing a minimal level of services. Concurrently, a comprehensive Management Zone Plan is occurring to fully incorporate management of the Casey Addition into the park.
Wind Cave National Park is located in the Black Hills of southwestern South Dakota, in Custer County. During 2000, park managers were contacted by an adjacent landowner desiring to sell the historic 5,556-acre Sanson/Casey ranch to the park. Over the next several years, park staff worked to acquire the ranch and formally add it to the park. On September 21, 2005, Congress passed Senate Bill 2788 (119 Stat. 2011) (P.L. 109-71), which allowed for the expansion of Wind Cave National Park to include the 5,556-acre ranch, known as the Casey Addition. The Casey Addition land was purchased using funds from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. On September 22, 2011, the Casey Addition officially became part of Wind Cave National Park, and a dedication ceremony was held on October 15, 2011.
The Casey Addition is located adjacent to the southeast portion of the park and contains the 1918 Sanson homestead, a modern ranch, and an archeological site that has characteristics similar to other known prehistoric buffalo jumps, which are areas where American Indians would drive buffalo over the cliff as a hunting method over a thousand years ago. At the present time, the Park Superintendent has closed the Casey Addition land for visitor and employee safety until a Visitor Use Plan and EA is completed and approved.
The purpose of the Visitor Use Plan and EA is to determine the best way for visitors to use and access the key resources on the Casey Addition, as well as determine what type of visitor activities should take place along the access route to and/or at the key resources, and allow the public to participate in providing input into these decisions.
To read the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), click on "Document List" in the column on the left. The FONSI and the EA constitute the record of environmental impact analysis and the decision-making process for the project. The NPS will implement the Preferred Alternative which includes actions to provide road access, parking, road pullouts, trails, turnarounds, and a viewing area in the Casey Addition, along with allowing backcountry camping in most of the Casey Addition and an area within the park north and west of the Casey Addition.
Tom Farrell, 605-745-1130