Standing on the facility's newly constructed stairway, Mammoth Site administrators accept grant money from The South Dakota Community Foundation (SDCF), February 27, 2019. (From left to right) Chief Scientist/Site Director; Dr. Jim Mead, COO/Site Business Manager; Presston Gabel, SDCF Regional Director for Foundation Relations; Beth Massa, and Site Administrative Assistant; Clay Olds. 

The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs has accepted a $20,000 South Dakota Fund grant from The South Dakota Community Foundation (SDCF). The grant money will be used to partially fund an on-going project to provide improved Mammoth Site accessibility for visitors and staff.

The Mammoth Site has made an on-going effort to update it's walkways to rightfully address the needs of visitors with mobile disabilities. They also aim to ease the flow of high volume traffic that visit the site annually. The existing bone-bed staircase has been demolished and a new, wider staircase had been constructed in it's place. An elevator will soon be constructed to aid those unable to access the staircase. 

Presston Gabel, Business Manager and COO of the Mammoth Site, has been working diligently with his staff to make this dream a reality. Gabel remarked, "It allows so much more accessibility to all of our visitors, regardless of whether they have mobility issues. From station 4 of the bone bed, these changes will allow visitors to access different parts of the dig without 'swimming up stream' against hundreds of people. All in all, it has been a wonderful addition to the Mammoth Site... a personal dream to see it completed."

SDCF Regional Director for Foundation Relations, Beth Massa, was on site to present the South Dakota Fund grant to Mammoth Site facilitators: "We are always thrilled when we can represent all areas of this state and not just the larger metropolitan areas. The grant making committee could see what impact this would make and were happy to be of help."

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At $20,000, The South Dakota Fund grant is the largest of it's kind through the SDCF. The fund is one of many grants the SDCF awards annually in support of culture, economic development, education, health and human services.

Ginger Nieman, SDCF Senior Program Officer said in a recent press release, "The South Dakota Community Foundation is proud to partner with the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs as they work to make their facilities easily accessible to both tourists and locals. The Mammoth Site has become a 'must visit' site in the southern Black Hills and wields a huge economic impact for the area."

Over 100,000 people visit the Mammoth Site annually. The site's local economic contributions topped six million dollars in 2017. The Mammoth Site is an Educational and Scientific Research Institution, the only accredited museum in the Black Hills, and only one of three museums that is accredited in South Dakota. Youth educational programs begin June 1st. For visitor information, go to http://www.mammothsite.org/visit-us/

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