Written from Hermosa, SD (Click on Pics to Enlarge)
Heartland Campground) to visit Wind Cave National Park. Wind Cave NP was established in 1903 and was the eighth park created. It holds the distinction of being the first established to protect a cave.
Just an abbreviated history of the cave. The natural entrance to the cave was discovered by Tom and Jesse Bingham in 1881 while searching for gold in the area. By 1890, the South Dakota Mining Company held the stake for the land where the cave was located. J.D. McDonald was hired to be the manager of the cave by the company. Alvin McDonald, the 16 year old son of J.D. McDonald fell in love with exploring the cave. He is credited with much of the early exploration of the cave. In fact, he kept a daily exploration diary of his adventures between 1891-1893. Hoping to cash in on the cave, after gold exploration in this area yielded little results, the cave was opened to tourists. Seeing that the cave was being negatively affected and actually "harmed", the Federal Government stepped in by 1903 and declared the cave part of the Wind Cave National Park.
Wikipedia's information on the subject. The boxwork structures are extremely fragile.
We were certainly not disappointed with the view once we reached the top.
Thanks for stopping by to take a look!