Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Return of the Bison to Wind Cave National Park

This year marks the one hundredth anniversary of the reintroduction of bison to Wind Cave National Park. Fourteen bison from the Bronx Zoo in New York City were released in the park in 1913 and serve as the park’s founding herd. To celebrate this event, the Friends of Wind Cave National Park and Wind Cave National Park are celebrating the return of the bison on August 16 and 17. 

Events begin Friday, August 16, at the park visitor center at 7 p.m. with a presentation of “The Return of the Bison: the Decision that Shaped Wind Cave National Park”. Following this will be a showing of the award-winning movie “The Vanishing Prairie”, which was filmed in the park in 19. 

On Saturday, August 17, at 9 a.m., a hike entitled “Exploring the Past: A Visit to the Forgotten Wind Cave National Game Preserve,” will be offered at the park. Participants should meet at the park visitor center dressed for the weather with good walking shoes, water, and snacks. They will then car caravan out to where the hike starts. The hike could last two to three hours.

Beginning at 10 a.m. at the Mueller Center in Hot Springs, a variety of programs will be offered until 5 p.m. An outdoor art show honoring the bison will feature Artists of the Black Hillsincluding: Don Montileaux, Ray Tysdal, Roger Wagoner, Bryan Bortnem plus Hummingbird Pottery, Fall River Fibers, Paula Tonemah, Dove Creek Pottery, Lon Sharp, Gerald Collogan and others. Larry Belitz will have his buffalo hide tipi on display. Food vendors will offer bison chili, buffalo jerky, buffalo brats, and more. 

Throughout the day there will be workshops and demonstrations including: Weaving using Bison Hair; Various uses of the buffalo by Native Americans; Transition of Native art from buffalo hides to ledger art as a way they preserved history and ceremony; Flint knapping and more. At 5:30 p.m. there will be a presentation by Susan Ricci, Director of the Museum of the American Bison, entitled: “The Extermination and Restoration of the American Bison”.

The main event begins at 7p.m. with entertainment by Grammy nominated singer/songwriter, Jack Gladstone, Montana’s Blackfeet Troubadour. Tickets for the evening show are $15/adults, $5/children under 12 years. Tickets for Jack Gladstone will be available at the Wind Cave National Park Visitor Center bookstore, Black Hills Books & Treasures, the Hot Springs area Chamber of Commerce, and the website (www.friendsofwindcavenp.org).

This is a fundraiser for the Friends group. Funds from these activities will be used to improve and preserve the recently acquired Sanson Ranch addition and for upgrading exhibits at the park visitor center.