It was the Lakota Indians who populated the area of the Black Hills of South Dakota to first call this place “mako sica” or bad land. It was a story of extreme temperatures, lack of water and very rugged, exposed terrain. The unique geography was formed when soft sedimentary rock was extensively eroded in a dry climate by wind, ice and snow. This resulted in a vast scenery of sharp spires, deep gullies, and ridges making up the “Badlands”.
It is ruggedly spectacular, multi-colored and seemingly altogether inhospitable.
But on closer look, there is of course a long history of life in the Badlands, both human and otherwise. There is a rich and diverse variety of plants and wildlife. Coyotes, butterflies, turtles, vultures, snakes, bluebirds, bison and prairie dogs abound.
We personally came across Bighorn Sheep and Prairie Dogs aplenty, and saw more than one sign warning of rattlesnakes.
Some of their descendants today however, live on area ranches and run good size herds of sheep and cattle. Surprisingly there is a good amount of native grassland which support ranchers without their having to supplement with other feeds.
The area was established as a National Monument by Presidential proclamation in 1939 and designated a National Park in 1978 thus preserving the scenery, wildlife, and indigenous plants found in the over 244,000 acres of the White River Badlands. It’s there for you and me to see and enjoy. We’ve done it, now it’s your turn!
Aloha, Mikie ~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl)
~Psst, tired of politics? Check out Travel in the Categories drop down menu (right side panel) for my blogs posted from interesting locations during my travel adventures.