Badlands National Park
Established as Badlands National Monument on the 4th of March
1929 and on the 25th of January 1939, then President Franklin
Roosevelt proclaimed the park a national monument.
The Park is
made up of about 244,000 acres of spires, eroded buttes and
pinnacles combined with the biggest protected mixed grass steppe
in the United States.
75 million years ago, the whole area was a shallow ocean. Traces
of this ocean can still be found today as evidenced in the
silver colored layers of shale that outlines all the buttes in
This shale, called "The Pierre Shale" is rich with the
fossils of prehistoric creatures. Today, many paleontologists
search and dig around the area looking to unlock other secrets
that might be hidden under the park grounds.
The Lakota referred to the place as "mako sica" and early
French trappers named the area "les mauvaises terres a traverser".
Both names mean "bad lands." The earliest people to come inhabit
the place were ancient mammoth hunters. Later, they were
followed by nomadic tribes whose lives were centered on bison
hunting. The Arikara was the first tribe known to have inhabited
the White River area. By the mid 18th century, they were
replaced by the Sioux, otherwise known as the Lakota, who
adopted the use of horses from the Spaniards and came to
dominate the region.
In 1846, a St. Louis physician named Dr. Hiram A. Prout was sent
a fossilized jaw fragment found by Alexander Culbertson. Dr.
Prout published a paper about it and unintentionally sparked the
popularity of the White River Badlands as fossil hunting
The Badlands Wilderness has designated 64,250 acres of the park
as protected areas. It is also the site for the reintegration of
the black footed ferret, North America's most endangered land
The Stronghold unit, located within the Pine Ridge Indian
Reserve is where you'll find the Stronghold Table, the place
where the Sioux Indians performed the ghost dance for the last
time in 1890.
The Badlands National Park, is oftentimes considered to be the
best place to relax one's mind. With is peaceful atmosphere and
attractive natural beauty, Badlands National Park is a great get
away from all the toils of city living.
If you go deep enough
the park, you will find no trace of the current century for no
telephone poles or antennas will block your viewing of this