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Jewel Cave is Snowshoeing into the Next Century

01/06/2017

Custer, S.D. – New Year, and a new you! Give yourself the gift of good health by getting outdoors and taking part in a snowshoe hike at Jewel Cave National Monument. The hike is slated for Saturday, January 14 at 1 p.m. on the popular Roof Trail near the visitor center. Park staff will instruct participants on the proper use of snowshoes and take a one-quarter mile recreational hike through the ponderosa pine forest. Snowshoes will be provided; however, participants are encouraged to wear warm boots or appropriate footwear for winter-like conditions.

Additional snowshoe hikes are scheduled for Saturdays, February 18 and March 18, at 1 p.m. Participants not able to attend the January outing are encouraged to make plans for the late winter dates. If trail conditions prohibit the use of snowshoes, dry hikes will still take place at the same time and along the same route. Participants are encouraged to wear layered clothes. Each snowshoe hike starts at the visitor center. For those that do not wish to snowshoe, the visitor center will be open, and Scenic Tours in the cave will take place at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The Monument has embraced the National Park Service (NPS) Healthy Parks Healthy People Initiative and is planning a host of activities this year to encourage everyone to get outside. Bradley Block, Chief of Interpretation, states, “Being in nature can improve your mood and connecting with parks can enhance a person’s physical, mental and spiritual health. Although the NPS Centennial has come to an end, snowshoeing is a great way to Find Your Park in 2017.” Many people make New Year’s resolutions, and healthy lifestyle changes usually rank in the top three each year. Hiking not only burns calories through aerobic exercise, it also improves cardio-respiratory fitness, reduces depression, and often results in higher quality sleep. Plus, snowshoe hikes are a great way for families to spend time together outside.

Jewel Cave National Monument’s visitor center is open daily during the winter season from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Cave tours are currently offered Friday through Sunday, and there are two different options each day. Each month, one Wild Caving Tour is offered on the third Saturday. This is the only tour which accepts reservations. Jewel Cave is lucky to have a strong volunteer contingent this year, and our staff hopes to offer daily cave tours soon. For the most updated information on tour schedules, visit the Monument online at www.nps.gov/jeca. Visitors are also welcome to call the Monument directly at (605) 673-8300.

WINTER/SPRING EVENT SCHEDULE

DECEMBER

Geology Rocks
Saturday, December 10, 11 a.m.
Join a Park Ranger for a special Geology Talk for International Mountain Day! Learn about the Black Hills uplift and how this eventually led to the creation of Jewel Cave. We will have rocks from the cave, sample cave formations, and fossils on a touch-and-learn table.

Last Day Hike
Saturday, December 31, 11 a.m.
Who says winter means you have to stay inside? Don't get cabin fever! Come out to Jewel Cave and join us for a hike along our 1/4-mile Roof Trail, guided by a Park Ranger. Celebrate the final day of the National Park Service's Centennial year by getting outside.

JANUARY

Snowshoe Hike
Saturday, January 14, 1 p.m.
Come out to the Monument for a snowshoe hike with a Park Ranger as part of the National Park Service's Healthy Parks, Healthy People initiative. If there's not enough snow, there will be a regular walking hike offered on our 1/4-mile Roof Trail.

Fee Free Day
Monday, January 17
Cave tour fees will be waived today in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday.

FEBRUARY

Cave Exploration Talk
Saturday, February 18, 11 a.m.
Join one of Jewel Cave's cave explorers to learn about recent trips and discoveries as well as the logistics of cave exploration. After the program, there will be a question and answer session regarding caving.

Snowshoe Hike
Saturday, February 18, 1 p.m.
Come out to the Monument for a snowshoe hike with a Park Ranger as part of the National Park Service's Healthy Parks, Healthy People initiative. If there's not enough snow, there will be a regular walking hike offered on our 1/4-mile Roof Trail.

Fee Free Day
Monday, February 20
Cave tour fees will be waived today in honor of President's Day.

MARCH

Snowshoe Hike
Saturday, March 18, 1 p.m.
Come out to the Monument for a snowshoe hike with a Park Ranger as part of the National Park Service's Healthy Parks, Healthy People initiative. If there's not enough snow, there will be a regular walking hike offered on our 1/4-mile Roof Trail.

Women's History Month: Jan Conn
Sunday, March 19, 2 p.m.
Journey Museum in Rapid City
A Park Ranger will be at the Journey Museum in Rapid City to discuss two of the pioneers of Jewel Cave, Herb and Jan Conn. The husband-and-wife duo discovered some of the most important passageways in the cave, and they are considered its greatest explorers. Come to the Museum to learn about these discoveries and more in the life of Jan Conn.

Ponderosa Pine Hike
Sunday, March 19 - Saturday, March 25, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Park Rangers will lead two guided hikes on our 1/4-mile Roof Trail each day over Spring Break. Learn about the importance of forests in our ecosystem, why fire is so significant, and more about the flora of Jewel Cave.

RECURRING PROGRAMS

A Park Ranger will present once a month at the local libraries until April 2017. The Weston County Library in Newcastle, WY hosts programs on the third Tuesday of each month at 4:15 p.m. while the Custer County Library programs take place on the third Friday of each month at 2:00 p.m.

-NPS-

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 413 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.


Contact

Riley Hays, Centennial Coorindator
Jewel Cave National Monument
Phone: 605-673-8332
email: Riley_Hays@nps.gov