National Park Service

Northern Great Plains Network (NGPN)

Inventory & Monitoring at Wind Cave National Park

Wind Cave National Park
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: 2011-2015 Sumary Report

WICA Plant Community Monitoring 2015 Summary Report Cover

The Northern Great Plains Inventory & Monitoring Network and Fire Effects program have been monitoring vegetation at Wind Cave National Park for over 18 years. This report summarizes data from 97 locations from 1985-2015, and explores the status and trends in plant communities and the occurrence of rare plants.
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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...

Resource Brief – Landbird monitoring results at Wind Cave National Park:2015

WICA Landbird Monitoring Cover

This is the third year of landbird surveys conducted at Wind Cave National Park. Bird monitoring is conducted in collaboration with the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies. The goal of this monitoring is to assess bird populations and community changes over time. Learn more...

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Last Updated: March 17, 2017 Contact Webmaster