Oglala Sioux Tribe and Park Service Partnering on First Tribal National Park

Badlands_NP_bison_NPSphotoBadlands bison Photo: National Park Service photo archive

The Oglala Sioux Tribe may be granted management of the South Unit of Badlands National Park, which would create the country's first tribal national park. The tribe and the National Park Service (NPS) have been working on an agreement to shift management of the 133,300-acre parcel since 2003. Department of Interior secretary Ken Salazar and NPS director Jon Jarvis today announced the release of the final General Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement for the park.

It would, however, be more accurate to say the tribe may be returned management of the land. The South Unit is part of what was the Pine Ridge Aerial Gunnery Range, which the U.S government formed during World War II by removing the land from the Pine Ridge Reservation. In 1968, the range closed and NPS took over management of the South Unit, as part of Badlands National Park.

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