The Nature Conservancy’s Whitney Preserve in western South Dakota.
Whitney Preserve. The Nature Conservancy’s Whitney Preserve in western South Dakota. © Mike Deal

Places We Protect

Whitney Preserve

South Dakota

A convergence of sage lands, pine forest and grasslands makes this area important for conservation.

Why You Should Visit
Whitney Preserve is adjacent to beautiful Cascade Springs, the largest perennial spring and one of only two warm springs found in the Black Hills. The preserve, named for Nathaniel and Mary Whitney, conservation pioneers in South Dakota, includes three miles of Cascade Creek just below its source, Cascade Springs. During daylight hours, visitors also can walk along a nature trail that is one of the best places in the Black Hills to see birds.

Location
The Whitney Preserve is located in the southern Black Hills southwest of Hot Springs, South Dakota.

Plan Your Visit
For more information on visiting this and other South Dakota preserves, check out our Preserve Visitation Guidelines.

Size
4,383 acres

Why the Conservancy Selected This Site

The Whitney Preserve is located on the eastern edge of a large, undeveloped landscape where elements of sage lands, pine forest and mixed grasslands come together. The convergence of these habitat types make this area important for conservation.

What to See: Plants
The spring supports a unique warm riverine system that includes four rare plant species — tulip gentian, beaked spike-rush, southern maidenhair fern, and stream orchid — that are found nowhere else in the Black Hills or the surrounding Great Plains.

What to See: Animals
Whitney Preserve and the surrounding landscape contain important habitat for turkey, deer, elk, bobcat and mountain lions. The constant flow of Cascade Creek and Cool Creek support deciduous trees that provide important habitat for birds. The nature trail at the Whitney Preserve is one of the best places in the Black Hills for bird-watchers.

For information on how to visit, please contact Ryan Wermager at (605) 745-6990 or via email at ryan.wermager@tnc.org.