Black Hills National Forest and The Nature Conservancy Team up for Final Moon Walk of the Season

Contact(s): Scott Jacobson, (605) 440-1409

Black Hills National Forest and The Nature Conservancy Team up for Final Moon Walk of the Season

Custer, SD; September 9, 2019 – Join the Black Hills National Forest and The Nature Conservancy Saturday, September 14, 2019, 7:00 –9:00 p.m. for the final Moonwalk of the 2019 season.  

Regional bat expert Joel Tigner will discuss the incredible role that bats play in our ecosystem. Joel will bring his technical equipment to aid in bat detection along the Moon Walk route. The Nature Conservancy’s Western South Dakota Conservation Manager, Corissa Busse, will talk about how conservation lands like the Whitney Preserve provide landscape connectivity and protect critical habitat for many wildlife species including bats. “People often think about bats and caves,” says Busse, “but this hike will give us an opportunity to see and hear bats as they take flight under the full moon – hunting for insects along streams and prairie edges.”

Participants in the scheduled Moon Walk event will walk approximately 1 mile roundtrip over uneven terrain within a grassland environment. The route will traverse along Cascade Creek at The Nature Conservancy’s Whitney Preserve. Cascade Creek is the only undeveloped warm water system in the Black Hills and its open waters are important for wildlife year round.

To reach the Moon Walk from Rapid City, travel south on SD Hwy. 79 for approximately 45 miles, turn right onto US Hwy. 18 towards Hot Springs, SD. Travel approximately 4.1 miles and turn left onto US Hwy 18 Bypass (Indianapolis Ave.) and follow for 0.7 miles. Turn left onto SD Hwy. 71 South. Travel for 8 miles to the Whitney Preserve. Moon Walk signs will be posted at major intersections to guide visitors to the site. The travel time from Rapid City is slightly over an hour. Participants should arrive early to facilitate parking near the Preserve’s Red Barn.

This hike is the last of the season and darkness falls faster this time of year. Visitors should bring flashlights, jackets, water, and bug repellant and dress for unexpected weather and hiking on uneven terrain. Bring binoculars or spotting scopes to spot birds, wildlife, and hopefully bats along the hike.

As this hike is in ‘snake country’, it is important that hikers’ attention is focused on the surroundings; children and dogs should not stray.  Long pants and sturdy, closed-toed footwear (hiking boots) are recommended for your comfort and safety.

The program may be canceled unexpectedly for unforeseen reasons such as lightning, high fire danger forecasts and other reasons beyond control. The program will not be canceled due to rain unless lightning is spotted.

For more information about the program and scheduling go to or contact Halley Legge, (605) 389-3042, Black Hills National Forest.


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