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REPORT OF THE SUPERVISOR OF THE WIND CAVE NATIONAL
WIND CAVE, S. DAK., August 7, 1915. 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, 1915 :
The act of Congress approved January 9, 1903 (32 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 that are not 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 the State of South Dakota, about 36 miles from the southern boundary and 24 miles from the Wyoming line. The altitude is 4,030 feet at headquarters. Portions of the mountains west of the cave attain an altitude of 4,700 feet.
The park is under direct control of a supervisor—the only official upon a regular salary. One or two guides serve during the summer months. There is also a park 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 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 480 feet below the surface entrance, and the total approximate linear distance of all accessible routes is not over 3 miles.
There is a spring and miniature lake in one place, and aside from this 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 visitors derive considerable satisfaction from viewing the calcite crystals, exposed geodes, box-work forms, and innumerable other beautiful formations.
During the fiscal year the work performed under the supervision of my predecessor and myself can be briefly stated as follows:
The building for the use of the public as a waiting and registration building has been completed.
Repairing of stairways within the cave and the building of new stairs and landings where necessery.
Building of an ice house, size 12 by 12 feet, 10 feet high.
Five miles of road was reshaped and smoothed, about one-half mile of which was made new in the process of straightening.
An underground reservoir of masonry 1 foot thick, with capacity of 450 barrels, was built and connected to a new sanitary drinking fountain near public building and the former hydrants and outlets in yard and residence. None but galvanized pipe was used in this system, and all conductor pipe was placed to a depth of 4 feet. Tho pipe is gradually reduced from 2 inches at outlet of reservoir to three-fourths inch at hydrants. The new reservoir is located 70 feet above and 300 feet distant from the park residence.
Screen doors and windows have been put on the public building and board fence adjoining same has been painted to conform with the color of the building.
The water pipe which was laid from the yard of the residence to pasture across road last year became clogged through freezing and burst, and was taken up. I considered it impracticable to use halfinch pipe and have substituted therefor some eave trough and spouting which was here, to conduct the waste water from drinking fountain to trough in pasture during the summer months.
The supervisor's office and all the rest of the rooms of the residence have been painted and porch and window screen repaired and painted.
Various other work of minor importance has been performed.
The buildings are in a good state of repair except the supervisor's residence, the upstairs portion of which is still unfinished. It contains six rooms and is substantially constructed of stone obtained from within the park.
Other buildings in the park are as follows:
One building for registration and use of public visitors, containing three rooms.
One small, rectangular, open pavilion to provide shade was built expressly for the use of tourists who come from long distances and who necessarily have to stop at headquarters and lunch in order to take time to see the cave.
A small frame house over the entrance to the cave.
A good barn, with room for 5 head of horses, hay loft, and carriage room.
A small log tool house and blacksmith shop combined.
The pavilion, public building, and ice house are new; the supervisor's residence and barn are but a few years old, and all are in good condition.
The source of water supply is a spring about one-half mile west of and 150 feet higher than the park residence. The old pipe line from the spring to the new reservoir is still used. It is of three-fourthinch galvanized pipe, and unless too near the surface in some places to afford protection from frost in winter will suffice for some years.
8161°—INT 1915—VOL 1-66