Cavers celebrate 150th mile mark of Wind Cave

Local News

It’s the seventh longest cave in the world.

And Wind Cave just recently passed the 150th-mile mark of explored passages. It’s a feat that requires help from many explorers.

KELOLAND’s Sydney Thorson, finds out what keeps drawing explorers back to the national park in the Black Hills.

Cavers gathered recently to celebrate the 150th mile mark of Wind Cave.

“Those numbers are kind of arbitrary but it’s kind of just a reason to get together with basically all of our caving friends. We’ve developed these relationships over the years because of Wind Cave,” Paul Burger, cave explorer, said.

Paul Burger has explored Wind Cave on numerous occasions and taken part in several discoveries.

“I would describe Wind Cave to someone who’s never been there before as this really complex, three dimensional maze. You think of like a corn maze that is just on one level but you stack that up like 10 levels deep,” Burger said.

One of the earliest Wind Cave explorers was Alvin McDonald who dreamt of discovering the cave’s end. Now, the park says over a thousand people have walked its trails.

“There is no end in sight yet and when people come and see that original opening and wonder where that hole goes, well we don’t know where it goes, we know where a 150 miles of it goes,” Tom Farrell, Chief of Interpretations at Wind Cave National Park, said.

With no end in sight, explorers will keep coming back.

“So you just know in your heart of hearts that there is more cave passages out there and that’s what we are looking for,” Burger said.

Wind Cave National Park hosts many events year-round.

But not every expedition goes as planned. 30 years ago, one woman was lost for more than a day inside the cave.

What it was like to be trapped in the darkness and unknown, is tonight’s Eye on KELOLAND at ten.

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