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Inventory & Monitoring at Wind Cave National Park

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Location of Wind Cave NP in the Northern Great Plains Network. Click for larger image.

Wind Cave National Park is located on the southeastern edge of the Black Hills in southwestern South Dakota. It was originally designated to preserve and protect Wind Cave, one of the longest caves in the world, but it has since evolved to protect both the cave and the rolling hillsides above.

The park includes samples of all five of the major geomorphic divisions of the Black Hills (Central Crystalline Core, Limestone Plateau, Minnelusa Foothills, Red Valley, and Cretaceous or "Dakota" Hogback), providing a diversity of habitats. The primary vegetation types found in the park are mixed-grass prairie and ponderosa pine forest. A unique characteristic about Wind Cave is that the mixed-grass prairie is managed primarily with native herbivores and fire, the two major ecosystem processes that shaped the vegetation of the Black Hills before European settlement. Deer, bison, elk, and pronghorn, native wildlife species associated with mixed-grass prairie, are found throughout the park along with large black-tailed prairie dog complexes, coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions, and golden and bald eagles.

To learn more about the park's natural resources, please visit their Nature and Science webpage.

Featured Information

Report – Plant community composition and structure monitoring for Wind Cave National Monument: 2013 Annual Report

WICA Plant Community Monitoring 2012 Annual Report Cover

The Northern Great Plains Inventory & Monitoring Network surveyed 15 long-term monitoring plots in Wind Cave National Park (WICA) in 2013 as part of an effort to better understand the condition of plant communities in the park.
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Herbarium – Rocky Mountain Digital Herbarium

In partnership with the Northern Great Plains Network (NGPN), the University of Wyoming Libraries has digitized the vascular plant herbarium collections for Wind Cave National Park. The Digital Herbaria provides access to high-resolution photographs and specimen data for hundreds of plant specimens. Learn more...

Report – Natural Resource Condition Assessment: Wind Cave National Park, 2011

WICA Natural Resource Condition Assessment Report Cover

In this Natural Resource Condition Assessment, NPS staff identified key resources, or components, including natural resources and processes that are currently of the greatest concern to park management at Wind Cave National Park. The final project framework contains 20 resource components, along with measures, stressors, and reference conditions for each.
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Last Updated: November 03, 2014 Contact Webmaster