Friday, July 23, 2010

Badlands National Park.

On our way to Pine Ridge Lakota Reservation we drove through Badlands National Park.
People have been awed and fascinated by Badlands for as far back as we know. Native American stories and legends show a recognition of badlands geology and landscapes, along with the unusual fossils found here. Badlands are considered one of the world's richest mammal fossil beds.

Early Europeans, homesteaders, ranchers, and the state of South Dakota also recognize this remarkable place, which eventually resulted in the designation of Badlands National Monument in 1929. By 1939 Badlands National Monument was established, and in 1978 it was elevated to national park status.

Total acreage in the park is 244,000, with 64,144 acres of wilderness. The park has been divided into North and South Units. It was interesting to learn that 50% of Badlands National Park is co-managed with the Oglala Lakota Nation. It is the South Unit that belongs to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, the second largest American Indian Reservation in the US.

Fees paid at Badlands (1 week pass for $15.00) are unique in that under special agreement fees are split with the Oglala Soiux Tribe.

The South Unit contains many sites sacred to the Oglala Lakota and other American Indian cultures. Hikers are asked to show respect by not touching or removing objects tied to the threes and shrubs.

Also, during World War II the 122,000 acres that now belong to the Oglala Lakota Nation had been used as an aerial bombing range. A multi-agency task force has been working toward clearing the South Unit of unexploded ordnance. The South Unit remains largely undeveloped and lacks access points, such as roads and trails. But you can still go for a hike there. The only thing is that since the South Unit of the Badlands is mostly privately owned, you need to obtain a permit from the landowners before going on a hike. The list of the landowners could be found in one of the Visitor's Centers.

We had a great time hiking in the Badlands and climbing the buttes. And the views were phenomenal, to say the least.

For more picture you can check out this site:


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