In South Dakota, around 940,000 visitors annually enjoy the fascinating spectacles of nature in Badlands National Park. On an impressive area of 982 km² you can find out why the national park is called Badlands National Park. The name is no coincidence! See a2zdirectory for tourist attractions in South Dakota.
Naming of the Badlands National Park
Badlands National Park was established on January 29, 1939. It is located in the southwest of South Dakota. The name Badlands describes exactly what makes the park optically. The weathered landscape, which in German actually means bad land. This name comes from the fact that no agriculture is possible in this area. This is why such land areas are called bad land, i.e. badlands. In addition, the Badlands National Park has the largest protected grass prairie in addition to “bad land”, which by the way looks incredibly fascinating!
Incidentally, there are many fossilized animals and plants in the Badlands National Park area and the entire area in and around South Dakota. Which many museums took advantage of early on, searching and literally scouring the area for these fossil finds.
Perhaps it is these contrasts in particular that make Badlands National Park so popular and interesting.
The history of Badlands National Park
45 prehistoric fire pits have been found in Badlands National Park. This suggests that people must have settled in this area very early on. Nomads also inhabited the badlands. The Franco-Canadians are considered to be the first white settlers. These came to the Badlands areas at the beginning of the 19th century to hunt for bison and other fur animals.
In 1939, the state took on the protection of Badlands National Park and made the area a National Monument. As early as 1976, the area of the original park was doubled and just two years later the Badlands National Park was also given national park status.
Hollywood also discovered Badlands National Park for itself and shot the movie “Dances With Wolves” (Kevin Costner, in the leading role) mainly in and around the park.
Animals and plants in Badlands National Park
Bison has always inhabited the area around and in Badlands Park. But because of the people’s greed for hunting, these animals were almost wiped out. The Pronghorns also succumbed to this fate. But these animals were protected and it was decided to save them. In the meantime, the populations have increased so much that there are sub-areas in which they are occasionally released for hunting. Some animal species that were typical in the past have been resettled. These include the bighorn sheep, whose survival is still uncertain.
Today the nimble and very good-sighted fork jacks populate the park. Goat antelopes, porcupines, skunks, rabbits and chipmunks also feel at home here.
They even share their habitat with raccoons and prairie dogs.
Since the badlands mainly consist of weathered areas, only vegetation-free areas can be found here as well. The other half of the park, however, and that is the fascinating thing about the area, is covered with prairie grass! Hence there was also the large population of bison and the like. They found enough food in this part of Badlands National Park.
When it rains enough, up to 200 different wildflowers grow in the park area.