Proposal for a Tribal National Park

Thousands of acres taken from the Oglala Sioux Tribe nearly 70 years ago would be returned and managed as a tribal national park under a proposal from the National Park Service.

The change involves the 208 square-mile South Unit that's part of Badlands National Park in southwest South Dakota.

In 1942, the U.S. government's War Department took what is now the South Unit from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to establish a practice bombing range that was used until the 1960s. The land was later returned to the tribe as government-held trust land to be managed by the Park Service as part of Badlands National Park.

Giving the tribe responsibility for the land is the preferred option from four management alternatives for the South Unit. It would be the first tribal national park in the nation and require congressional approval, said Steve Thede, deputy superintendent of Badlands National Park.

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Photo Courtesy : Taylor Davidson.