REPORT OF THE ACTING SUPERINTENDENT OF WIND CAVE NATIONAL PARK
WIND CAVE, VIA HOT SPRINGS.
SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith the following report on the management of the Wind Cave National Park for the year ended June 30, 1914:
The act of Congress approved January 9, 1903 (82 Stat., 765), made reservation of a tract of land in South Dakota, comprising 10,522 acres, to be known as the Wind Cave National Park. When this act was passed there were several tracts of patented lands within the boundary, but the Government has secured title to all such lands, and at the present date the boundaries of the park embrace no lands but what are under the exclusive control of the Government.
The park is almost square, and has an area of approximately 16 square miles. It is located in a semimountainous region, on the southern slopes of the Black Hills, in the southwestern corner of South Dakota, about 36 miles from the southern boundary and 24 miles from the Wyoming line. The altitude at headquarters is 4,030 feet. Portions of the mountains west of the cave attain to an altitude of 4,700 feet.
The park is under the direct control of a superintendentthe only official upon a regular salary. One or two guides serve during the summer months; there is also a ranger for a month at a time to assist with grazing and timber matters.
The chief attraction is the cave, situated somewhat north of the center of the park and about 12 miles north of the town of Hot Springs, which is the most accessible town of any importance. Headquarters for the park is maintained in close vicinity to the cave. Both the Burlington and the Chicago & North Western have regular train service with east and west connections to Hot Springs, and the majority of the visitors to the park come from this town. Mail and express matter all comes to the park by way of Hot Springs.
The cave has been made accessible to the public by the working out of the passageways so as to admit of easy travel. It has also been necessary to construct a number of stairways, landings, bridges, and railings within the interior. The lower levels to which the public is conducted are possibly 400 feet below the surface entrance, and the total approximate linear distance of all accessible routes is not over 3 miles.
The cave is without water or moisture, except from condensation of a heavily laden air. In this way moisture gathers on the ceilings of some caverns and drops to the floors, causing wet spots, but in very few places. The predominating formations are of limestone, and the visitors derive considerable satisfaction from viewing the calcite crystals, exposed geodes, and box-work forms.
WORK OF THE YEAR.
During the fiscal year the work performed under the supervision of your superintendent can be briefly stated as follows:
One and one-half miles of roadbed, with three bridges, was wholly reconstructed upon a 3 per cent grade, with ample width for passing of traffic.
The building for the use of the public as a waiting and registration building was enlarged and reconstructed.
A small pavilion for the use of tourists and auto drivers was erected.
The fence about the pasture was reconstructed and 1 mile of new fence was built on east side of main road. On account of the new reserve fence, a lane was established, passing headquarters, and the gates which have obstructed traffic were removed.
The blacksmith shop was removed to the rear of the carpenter shop and a new roof was placed.
A water pipe was laid from the yard of the residence to a trough in the pasture across the road.
Thorough repairs were made to the surroundings of the cave house and to the interior stairways, landings, and railings.
With but one exception the buildings are sufficient for the needs of the park. They comprise the following:
Superintendent's residence of six rooms; substantially constructed of stone obtained from within the park.
One building for the registration and use of the public visitors, containing three rooms.
One small, rectangular, open pavilion to provide shade and built expressly for the use of tourists who have come from long distances and who necessarily have to stop at headquarters and lunch in order to take the time to see the cave.
A small frame house over the entrance to the cave.
A good barn, with room for 4 head of horses, hay loft, and carriage room.
A small tool house, with blacksmith shop combined.
The public waiting room and the pavilion are new; the superintendent's residence and barn are but a few years old, and all are in good condition.
The water supply is of good quality, but not of sufficient volume and not in very satisfactory condition. The source of supply is a spring, at considerable elevation over the house and about three-quarters mile distant. The water is conducted to headquarters through a half-inch pipe laid in trench. The flow is but 1 gallon in seven minutes, but it appears to be reliable, without variation, the year around.
ROADS AND BRIDGES.
There is but the one main road through the park, extending from north to south, about through the center, and passing headquarters. From regions south and east this is the route to all of the Black Hills country and to much country in Wyoming and Montana. This road is of dirt and in fair condition; it is much better than the public roads immediately adjacent to the park, either north or south. Traffic is mostly by automobile and is increasing rapidly. Many parties that go through are bound for the many places of interest in the mountain regions to the north and have camp equipage packed in their cars.
In addition to this through automobile traffic, visitors to the cave are brought to the park from Hot Springs, principally by automobile. Owners of cars desiring to bring visitors are required to take out a license for that purpose. During the past season 11 automobiles were used for this purpose.
In order to ascertain the necessity for better roads within the park, I have kept a close tally of the actual traffic during the year. The results are as follows:
In addition, it is estimated that the automobile traffic over that portion of the park road from the southern boundary to the cave, which has been necessary to bring the visitors to the cave, would be equal to 820 trips by one car.
For the year ended June 30, 1914, the total number of registered visitors to the cave was 3,592. Of these, 2,740 came during the three summer months (July and August, 1913, and June, 1914). It is the custom for an authorized guide (or guides) to conduct these visitors through the cave during these summer months, and, as a trip therein requires about three hours of time, but two trips each day are undertaken. The established times for entrance to the cave are 9 o'clock in the morning and 2 o'clock in the afternoon. Each visitor pays a fee of 50 cents for entrance, and these fees are remitted to the department, the guides being upon a salary basis during the months of most attendance.
Many camping parties pass through the park with team and wagon, but on account of the scarcity of water these people stop along the northern boundary and not strictly within the park. It has been the custom not to encourage this class of traffic to stay longer than necessary, on account of the danger of fires. There is no record of campers that have stayed over 24 hours. The summer season is hot and dry, with much wind, and the danger from disastrous fires is very acute.
MOVEMENT OF LIVE STOCK.
The movement of loose stock along the main road is not great. During the past year there have been but 300 head of cattle taken through the park on the road. This stock belonged to three local ranchmen that were changing their cattle from one range to another. Considerable stock is driven about the park, but on cross-country trips without regard to any roads.
The western half of the park is covered with pine timber. The ordinary longleaf pine predominates, with some lodgepole pine interspersed. Some of this timber is approaching a size to be of commercial value. The timbered area of the park will stand for some forestry application and is worthy of more than passing notice.
As the park is upon the breaks of the Black Hills, the mountains within the park do not impress a visitor with much scenic effect, but there is much latent beauty in the wooded area, and the flora of the park is very interesting.
STREAMS AND WATER.
There are no streams or running water within the park. This is a region of semiarid character. The several watercourses have been caused by freshets of a cloudburst nature, otherwise they are dry the year around.
NATIONAL GAME PRESERVE.
A national game preserve has been established in the Wind Cave National Park under the provisions of "An act making appropriations for the Department of Agriculture for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1913," approved August 10, 1912 (37 Stat., 293), as follows:
For the establishment of a national game preserve, to be known as the Wind Cave National Game Preserve, upon the land embraced with the boundaries of the Wind Cave National Park, in the State of South Dakota, for a permanent national range for a herd of buffalo to be presented to the United States by the American Bison Society, and for such other native American game animals as may be placed therein. The Secretary of Agriculture is authorized to acquire by purchase or condemnation such adjacent lands as may be necessary for the purpose of assuring an adequate, permanent water supply and to inclose the said game preserve with a good and substantial fence and to erect thereon all necessary sheds and buildings for the proper care and maintenance of the said animals, $26,000, to be available until expended.
The establishment on this preserve of nucleus herds of bison and elk has resulted in added interest to the public in the park. It is particularly adapted to this purpose, and the animals will do well. The first inclosure is about the western portion of the park and will create a pasture of about 4,000 acres.
Since it will be impossible for the general public to obtain a glimpse of either buffalo or elk after they have been liberated within this large pasture, it will be the policy of the department to retain, within a small inclosure alongside the road, a few of the animals. The herds at present number 17 buffalo and 16 elk.
During the past season the buffalo and elk have proven as attractive to the many visitors as the cave, and the establishment of this national reserve will undoubtedly tend to divert cross-country traffic in this direction.
As a natural game reserve, there is but the one animal, the white tail deer, that has come under the protection of the park.1 These are present in a small number throughout the season, with more in the autumn season on account of the hunting to the northward that drives them to the park for a refuge.
The prairie sharp-tailed grouse (pedioecetes phasianellus campestris) and the bobwhite (colinus virginianus) are present within the park in small numbers. The former winter here, but the latter move without the border in order to obtain a food supply. The species would both increase and do well with but little attention. With the erection of the big fence around 4,000 acres of territory and the keeping out thereof of all trespassers the increase of the birds will be assured.
Coyotes are common, and an occasional gray wolf has been seen. It would take persistent efforts to remove the coyotes, as they are well established.
One mammal, the porcupine, not usually classed as a predatory animal, is present in such numbers as to be a menace to the pine timber. This animal is destroying large numbers of the younger pines, and your superintendent should give them serious consideration. A few trees where the timber is the most plentiful, on the west side of the park, does not matter so much, but over the eastern portion, where there are scattered groups of but a few trees, this small animal is killing entire groves.
List of yearly permits authorized for transportation of passengers by automobile, Nov. 1, 1913, to Oct. 31, 1914, in the Wind Cave National Park.
Permits issued for the grazing of horses and cattle, using such of the park lands as are designated by the superintendent thereof.
I submit for your consideration the following recommendations:
Road machinery should be purchased by the department and kept on hand for use in the park. There is now only the primitive plow, with the scraper and small drag. One road grader, not so large but what one team can pull it, and a wheel scraper are needed very much. When road work is undertaken it must be done with sufficient force of men and teams to carry it to completion within a short period of time in order to make it efficient and effective, and when such work is initiated it is impossible to go out and borrow machinery.
There is also needed a stone building over the entrance to the cave. This latter is an attraction of such a nature as to be placed in ridicule by not having a neat stone structure about the entrance.
A cement storage tank for storage of the spring water is a desirability. Headquarters lacks that completing touch which can not be supplied excepting with some green grass and a few transplanted trees. Under present conditions this is impossible.
Roads and bridges will be a cause of expense for two years, and the increase in traffic demands that they be placed in first-class condition. There are no great obstacles to contend against, such as expensive rock work or heavy cuts and fills. The grade can be improved at places, the track straightened out, but it is most important that the roadbed be shaped properly to withstand the heavy rains that at present are washing the best material away and making temporary repairs a waste of money.
I believe in pleasing the public, especially that portion of the public that travels. The park is in a position to demonstrate the value of good roads, and if there is a good road through the park, impressions will be made that will react in more than one vicinity.
Therefore I feel as if the expenditures I have asked you for assume importance in this order:
FREDERICK N. DILLE,
The SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR.
RULES AND REGULATIONS.
GENERAL REGULATIONS OF MARCH 30, 1912.
Pursuant to authority conferred by the act of Congress approved January 9, 1903, the following rules and regulations for the government of the Wind Cave National Park, in South Dakota, are hereby established and made public:
1. It is forbidden to remove or injure the specimens or formations in and around the Wind Cave, or to deface the same by written inscription or otherwise, or to injure or disturb in any manner or carry off any of the mineral deposits, specimens, natural curiosities, or wonders on the Government lands within the park.
2. No person shall be permitted to enter the cave unless accompanied by the superintendent or other park employee, or by competent guides.
3. It is forbidden to cut or injure any timber growing on the park lands, or to deface or injure any Government property. Camping parties will be allowed to use dead or fallen timber for fuel.
4. Fires should be lighted only when necessary and completely extinguished when no longer required. The utmost care must be exercised at all times to avoid setting fire to the timber and grass.
5. Hunting or killing, wounding, or capturing any bird or wild animal on the park lands, except dangerous animals when necessary to prevent them from destroying life or inflicting an injury, is prohibited. The outfits, including guns, traps, teams, horses, or means of transportation used by persons engaged in hunting, killing, trapping, ensnaring, or capturing such birds or wild animals, or in possession of game killed on the park lands under other circumstances than prescribed above, will be taken up by the superintendent and held subject to the order of the Secretary of the Interior, except in cases where it is shown by satisfactory evidence that the outfit is not the property of the person or persons violating this regulation and the actual owner thereof was not a party to such violation. Firearms will only be permitted in the park on written permission from the superintendent thereof.
6. Fishing in any other way than with hook and line is forbidden, and may be prohibited by order of the superintendent in any of the waters of the park, or limited therein to any specified season of the year until otherwise ordered by the Secretary of the Interior. Fishing for purposes of merchandise or profit is forbidden. All fish less than 8 inches in length should at once be returned to the water with the least damage possible to the fish. Fish that are to be retained must be at once killed by a blow on the back of the head or by thrusting a knife or other sharp instrument into the head.
7. No person will be permitted to reside permanently, engage in any business, or erect buildings, etc., upon the Government lands in the park, without permission, in writing, from the Secretary of the Interior. The superintendent may grant authority to competent persons to act as guides and revoke the same in his discretion. No pack trains will be allowed in the park unless in charge of a duly registered guide.
8. Owners of patented lands within the park limits are entitled to the full use and enjoyment thereof; the boundaries of such lands, however, must be determined and marked and defined so that they may be readily distinguished from the park lands. While no limitations or conditions are imposed upon the use of such private lands so long as such use does not interfere with or injure the park, private owners must provide against trespass by their stock or cattle, or otherwise, upon the park lands, and all trespasses committed will be punished to the full extent of the law. Stock may be taken over the park lands to patented private lands with the written permission and under the supervision of the superintendent, but such permission and supervision are not required when access to such private lands is had wholly over roads or lands not owned or controlled by the United States.
9. Allowing the running at large, herding, or grazing of cattle or stock of any kind on the Government lands in the park, as well as the driving of such stock or cattle over same, is strictly forbidden, except where authority therefor has been granted by the superintendent. All cattle or stock found trespassing on the park lands will be impounded and disposed of as directed in regulations approved March 30, 1912.
10. No drinking saloon or barroom will be permitted upon Government lands in the park.
11. Private notices or advertisements shall not be posted or displayed on the Government lands within the reservation, except such as may be necessary for the convenience and guidance of the public.
12. Persons who render themselves obnoxious by disorderly conduct or bad behavior, or who violate any of the foregoing rules, will be summarily removed from the park and will not be allowed to return without permission, in writing, from the Secretary of the Interior or the superintendent of the park.
No lessee or licensee shall retain in his employ any person whose presence in the park shall be deemed and declared by the superintendent to be subversive of the good order and management of the reservation.
13. Any person who violates any of the foregoing regulations will be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, be fined not more than $1,000, or be imprisoned not more than 12 months, or both, in the discretion of the court, as provided by the act creating the park.
14. The superintendent designated by the Secretary is hereby authorized and directed to remove all trespassers from the Government lands in the park and enforce these rules and regulations and all the provisions of the act of Congress aforesaid.
REGULATIONS OF MARCH 30, 1912, GOVERNING THE IMPOUNDING AND DISPOSITION OF LOOSE LIVE STOCK.
Horses, cattle, or other domestic live stock running at large or being herded or grazed on Government lands in the Wind Cave National Park without authority therefor will be taken up and impounded by the superintendent, who will at once give notice thereof to the owner, if known. If the owner is not known, notice of such impounding, giving a description of the animal or animals, with the brands thereon, will be posted in six public places inside the park and in two public places outside the park. Any owner of an animal thus impounded may, at any time before the sale thereof, reclaim the same upon proving ownership and paying the cost of notice, and all expenses incident to the taking up and detention of such animal, including the cost of feeding and caring for the same. If any animal thus impounded shall not be reclaimed within 30 days from notice to the owner or from the date of posting notices, it shall be sold at public auction at such time and place as may be fixed by the superintendent after 10 days' notice, to be given by posting notices in six public places in the park and two public places outside the park, and by mailing to the owner, if known, a copy thereof.
All money received from the sale of such animals and remaining after the payment of all expenses incident to the taking up, impounding, and selling thereof shall be carefully retained by the superintendent in a separate fund for a period of six months, during which time the net proceeds from the sale of any animal may be claimed by and paid to the owner upon presentation of satisfactory proof of ownership, and if not so claimed within six months from the date of sale such proceeds shall be turned into the Wind Cave National Park fund.
The superintendent shall keep a record in which shall be set down a description of all animals impounded, giving the brands found on them, the date and locality of the taking up, the date of all notices and manner in which they were giveen the date of sale, the name and address of the purchaser, the amount for which each animal was sold and the cost incurred in connection therewith, and the disposition of the proceeds.
The superintendent will, in each instance, make every reasonable effort to ascertain the owner of animals impounded and to give actual notice thereof to such owner.