Badlands National Park,
designated a national park in 1978 (following national monument
designation in 1929), is situated in South Dakota and consists of 244,000 acres of buttes,
spires and pinnacles interspersed with America's largest, protected
mixed grass prairie. Within the park, the 64,000 acre Badlands Wilderness Area
covers 64,000 acres is home to the
black-footed ferret, the most endangered land mammal in North America.
Badlands contains some 11,000 years of human history and tens of millions
of years of geological history as recorded in fossil beds.
In addition to
the steep canyons and tall cliffs, Badlands National Park features the
largest and most intact mixed-grass prairie preserved
by the National Park Service. Hundreds of species of animals and
plants are found within the native grasslands of Badlands National Park.
Originally set aside by Congress in 1929, the
Badlands National Monument was set aside to preserve the pristine scenery,
protect the millions of year of fossils and the varied wildlife, and
conserve the vast mixed-grass prairie.
Currently, the Badlands Loop Scenic Byway is a 32
mile road which features 14 scenic overlooks.