Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) today issued the following statement regarding the National Park Service (NPS) decision to reverse its plans to close Wind Cave’s Elk Mountain Campground following the implementation of sequestration, and instead reopen the campground for the summer season.
“Reopening the Elk Mountain Campground is the right decision and is a victory for park visitors,” said Thune. “I was glad to see that the NPS decided to operate the campground rather than close a facility that generates revenue for the park. While I would prefer that the NPS work with the state and private companies to manage campgrounds such as Elk Mountain, I am pleased with its decision and look forward to working with the NPS and the dedicated staff at Wind Cave to continue improving the efficiency of our national parks.”
The NPS reversal on the campground comes following questions from Thune about whether the decision to close the campground was just one of many of the administration’s politically-calculated sequestration cuts. Thune also sent a follow-up letter on April 11th to the NPS Regional Director, Michael Reynolds, urging the NPS to enter into a cooperative management agreement with the State of South Dakota or a concession contract with a private campground operator to manage Wind Cave National Park’s Elk Mountain Campground.According to the NPS, the campground will soon open and will remain open for the remainder of 2013 and beyond. Wind Cave will be announcing additional details in the near future.