In 2011, the Fund helped the National Park Service acquire an additional 5,555 acres at Wind Cave. The new tract, a historic ranch that formerly belonged to the Casey family, includes important Lakota cultural sites, a homestead, tipi rings and a thousand-year-old “buffalo jump,” where native hunters drove bison to their deaths.

Our Role

The process of expanding Wind Cave National Park began in 2000 when the Casey family approached the National Park Service about selling their historic ranch property to the park. In 2005, with support from South Dakota’s congressional delegation, Congress passed legislation to expand the park. When the Casey family put up their land for auction in 2010, The Conservation Fund purchased the property and held it until federal funding became available in 2011. We transferred the property to the Park Service in October 2011.

Why This Project Matters

With the addition of the Casey ranch to Wind Cave NP, park visitors will have new opportunities to experience the history and culture of South Dakota’s indigenous people. “We would like to thank The Conservation Fund for the critical role they played in acquiring this property,” National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said. “Because of their help, we look forward to providing educational programs about the buffalo jump and historic ranch to area school children and all our visitors.”

Already an important tourist destination that makes a major contribution to the state’s economy, the new site is expected to drive even more tourism to the area and benefit the economies of the park’s surrounding communities.

“The addition of this historic ranch to the park will help ensure that people for generations to come can come to know and love this treasured landscape and have the opportunity to learn about the indigenous peoples of South Dakota. I thank The Conservation Fund for their work over the years to turn this vision into a reality.”
— (Former) Interior Secretary Ken Salazar

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Wind Cave National Park