RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is providing money for prescribed burns to improve wildlife habitat in western South Dakota's Black Hills.

The Rapid City Journal reports the foundation has approved $71,000 in grants for burns on the southwest corner of Custer State Park, the northwest corner of Wind Cave National Park and portions of U.S. Forest Service and private land in the region.

The prescribed burns are to be scheduled when weather and ground conditions allow next summer. The goal is to eliminate ponderosa pines encroaching on aspen stands and to clear layers of pine needles, dead vegetation and weeds from the forest floor.

Black Hills National Forest wildlife biologist Kerry Burns says new forage growth benefits not just elk but other animals including deer and wild turkeys.

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