About Badlands National Park
The White River Badlands in southwestern South Dakota contain spiritual, historical, geological, and paleontological resources. The scenic landscape of the Badlands has great historical and spiritual significance to the Lakota Sioux. Educational opportunities and scientific research offer visitors insight into the area’s geological and paleontological wonders. The striking geologic formations contain one of the world’s richest fossil beds. Ancient mammals such as rhinos, horses, and saber-toothed cats once roamed here. The Oglala Sioux Tribe and federal land management agencies protect an expanse of mixed-grass prairie where bison, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, and black-footed ferrets live today.
Badlands National Park is 70 miles east of Rapid City. The park, established in 1939, totals 242,756 acres. The North Unit includes the 64,250-acre Badlands Wilderness Area. The South Unit is within the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and is managed by the National Park Service in cooperation with the Oglala Sioux Tribe under a memorandum of agreement signed in 1976.
In addition to the national park, the White River Badlands includes Buffalo Gap National Grassland, the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, private lands, primarily ranches and farms, and Minuteman Missile National Historic Site. This region of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles, and spires is blended with the largest, protected mixed-grass prairie in the United States. There are two visitor centers in Badlands National Park, one in the North Unit and one in the South Unit. In addition, there are two visitor centers in proximity to Badlands National Park: the National Grasslands Visitor Center in Wall, South Dakota, and the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site Visitor Center just off Interstate 90 at Badlands Exit 131.
|Date the Park was Established:||November 10, 1978|
|Park Area (as of 2019):||242,755.94 acres (982.4 km2)|
|Recreational Visitors (2018 Total):||1008942 visitors|