In 2005, through a joint project between GPRC and Wildlands Restoration Corporation, Great Plains Restoration Council was able to secure the purchase and protection of 4,600 acres directly adjacent to the North Unit of Badlands National Park. The National Park Service has long wanted this quality habitat for the Park since it shares 6.5 miles of frontage with their Sage Creek Wilderness. The privately-held 4600 acres came under threat of foreclosure, and a prairie dog shooting club was interested in buying it. The National Park Service could not move fast. After being alerted to the situation by GPRC, Wildlands Restoration Corporation, a private trust, stepped in to save this sensitive, remote flank of Badlands National Park. The land is critical Northern Plains mixed-grass prairie habitat for bison, black-tailed prairie dogs, endangered black-footed ferrets, and many other species of native wildlife. Agreement has been reached with the National Park Service for the 6.5 mile Park fence between our property and the Park’s Sage Creek Wilderness Area to be taken down so the two can ecologically connect. The ultimate goal is for the National Park Service to realize their longtime desire of acquiring this new preserve and fold it officially into the Park. The boundary expansion approval is now in the legislative package in Washington, D.C.
GOAL: National Park Service completes its long-held goal of expanding the Badlands National Park boundary and acquiring these 4,600 acres of the Oglala Prairie Preserve formally into the Park.
After this South Dakota project is completed, GPRC will only focus on the Southern Plains, where all the rest of its work is currently situated.