BLACK HILLS, S.D. (KELO) — From Mount Rushmore and the Missouri River to the Badlands and Wind Cave, South Dakota is home to several national parks.
Across the country, people are celebrating National Park Week. You’ll find several National Parks in the Black Hills alone.
Wind Cave is the 7th longest cave in the entire world. It officially became a national park about 120 years ago.
“It’s an opportunity to celebrate our national parks and the role that they play in our society. We tell the country’s stories, whether it’s our natural stories or our cultural stories,” Tom Farrell, Wind Cave Natl. Park Spokesperson, said.
A little farther East is the Badlands, which officially became a National Park in 1978.
“It boasts over 244,000 acres of adventure and otherworldly landscapes,” Greg Valladolid with the Black Hills and Badlands National Park, said.
South Dakota’s National Parks are also important to the state’s economy.
“National parks across the country provide visitors with educational and recreational activities while supporting local communities and economies. This week is essential to recognize national parks across the country because it highlights the significance of these national treasures and the role that they play in our economy and enjoyment,” Valladolid said.
“We help support 550 jobs and contribute over 37.5 million dollars spending in the area by our visitors so we play an important role in the state’s economy,” Farrell said.
With tourism season right around the corner, officials at the Badlands and Wind Cave National Parks say this week is a great time to plan your summer vacation in the Black Hills.
National Park week is held in April each year in conjunction with Earth Day. It started in 1991.