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03/22/2019 - Historic Art Exhibit in Honor of Smokey Bear’s 75th Birthday

The Black Hills National Forest, in partnership with South Dakota Wildland Fire Division, invites the public to celebrate Smokey Bear’s 75th birthday and wildfire prevention campaign at a FREE art exhibition in Custer, SD.

Rudolph “Rudy” Wendelin’s historic replica portraits of the notorious Bear will be on display March 11-22 at the Black Hills National Forest’s Supervisor/Hell Canyon Ranger District Offices, 1019 N. 5th St., Custer, SD. 

The display will be open for viewing M-F, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Offices will also be open March 14 & March 19 until 5 p.m. and Sat. March, 16, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Smokey Bear’s birthday is August 9, 1944. Smokey’s birthday was kicked-off with nationwide recognition at the Tournament of Roses Parade in January and will be followed by numerous celebrations throughout the year. 

The public is welcome to stop by and enjoy FREE birthday cake with Smokey Bear on March 15 at 2 p.m. at the Forest Service office in Custer. The cake, along with Smokey Bear prizes, are provided by Black Hills Parks & Forests Association.

Wendelin created hundreds of Smokey representations that highlighted natural resource conservation and wildfire prevention. Under his direction, Smokey assumed softer human features, ranger’s hat, jeans and shovel for which he is best known.

The exhibit consists of replicas provided by the National Agricultural Library (NAL) and is scheduled to travel to National Forests across the country throughout 2019.

For more information and details call (605) 673-9200 or visit www.facebook.com/blackhillsnf.