Explore Air

Wind Cave National Park Air Quality Information


Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota
Wind Cave National Park (NP) was created in 1903. It was the seventh national park and the first one created to protect a cave. The parklands at that time were small and there were no bison, elk, or pronghorn. They came later as the park boundaries expanded. In 1912, the American Bison Society was looking for a place to reestablish a bison herd. Because of the excellent prairie habitat around the park, a national game preserve was established bordering Wind Cave NP. The game preserve was managed by the U.S. Biological Survey. In 1935, the game preserve became part of Wind Cave NP. Today, the Class I air quality park includes one of the world's longest and most complex caves and encompasses 28,295 acres of mixed-grass prairie, ponderosa pine forest, and associated wildlife.

• Wind Cave NP is located in a rural part of the country. Nevertheless, sources and source areas of particular concern include point and area sources in Rapid City, South Dakota, extensive oil and gas development in north west east Wyoming, and a railway line proposed to be constructed near the park (is the railway line still an issue?). The park could also be affected by more distant sources in neighboring states.

• The National Atmospheric Deposition Program/National Trends Network (NADP/NTN) site at Newcastle,Wyoming, (site #WY99; approximately 60 km west) is used to represent wet deposition at the park. Data are available for this location since 1981. The data show wet deposition of sulfate, nitrate, and ammonium are relatively low. There are decreasing trends in wet sulfate concentration and deposition; no overall trends in wet nitrate concentration, wet ammonium concentration, and wet ammonium deposition; and a slight increasing trend in wet nitrate deposition. The Newcastle NADP/NTN data indicate that Wind Cave NP is a relatively clean site and that there is no apparent threat from acidic deposition at the present time. An NADP/NTN monitor was installed at Wind Cave NP in 2002 (site #SD04).This site will provide the park with on-site baseline wet deposition data before a lot of potential new development occurs. Trend data are not yet available for the site.

• Representative dry deposition data are not available for the park.

• Surface water chemistry data have been collected in and near Wind Cave NP. These data indicate park surface waters are well buffered against acid inputs.

• Ozone has been monitored only with passive samplers in Wind Cave NP. Values indicate cumulative ozone concentrations are relatively low.

• While ozone-sensitive species occur in Wind Cave NP (e.g., Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa)), plants in the park have not been evaluated for ozone injury.

• Historically, visibility has not been monitored in Wind Cave NP. However, to assess response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new Regional Haze regulations requiring improving visibility in Class I air quality areas on both the best visibility and the worst visibility days, an Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) monitoring site was installed in the park in January 2000. Trend data are not yet available for the site.

• Additional information on in-park emissions at Wind Cave NP is available in 2000 Air Emission Inventory-Wind Cave National Park (February 2003).

• Additional information relative to air quality and air quality related values at Wind Cave NP is available in D.L. Peterson, T.J. Sullivan, J.M. Eilers, S. Brace, D. Horner, K. Savig and D. Morse. 1998. Assessment of Air Quality and Air Pollutant Impacts in National Parks of the Rocky Mountains and Northern Great Plains. Technical Report NPS D-657. National Park Service. Denver, CO.

updated on 10/31/2006  I   http://nature.nps.gov/air/Permits/ARIS/WICA/index.cfm   I  Email: Webmaster