The Hudson-Meng bison bonebed Education and Research Center is reopening to the public today for the first time since 2019.
Jordan Price of the Nebraska National Forests and Grasslands says Hudson-Meng has been closed the past 2 summers because of COVID-19, but will now open on Fridays and Saturdays 5 of the next 8 weeks – starting this Friday and Saturday from 9-4:00.
Budget and staffing issues in the last few years before the pandemic cut the number of days Hudson-Meng was open, but it still had its own staff.
Price says that’s not the case this summer, when only 2 people will be on duty at time. Some will Forest Service staffers with other regular jobs and some will be volunteers.
Price says they’ll still be offering guided tours and atlatl demonstrations. They won’t be able to run the store, which is partnered with the Black Hills Parks and Forests Association, but the items normally for sale there can be ordered online and some are available at the Nebraska National Forests and Grasslands headquarters in Chadron.
The Hudson-Meng bonebed is one of the most important paleo-archeological in North America with the bones of some 600 members of an extinct species of bison who died about 10,000 years ago.
How they died remains a mystery. Discovered in 1954 with its first scientific dig in the 1970s, the Hudson-Meng Site was thought for many years to be a paleo-Indian kill site, but researchers in the 1990s concluded the bison died of natural causes.
Later digs determined that groups of paleo-Indians had visited the site and apparently butchered animals many times over many years, but could not find conclusive evidence of the cause of death.