National Grasslands In South Dakota


South Dakota has three National Grasslands: Buffalo Gap National Grassland (556, 997 acres) in southwest South Dakota, Fort Pierre National Grassland (115, 998 acres) in the central part of the state, and Grand River National Grassland (162, 086 acres) in the northwest.

Grand River National Grassland is administered by Custer National Forest in Montana, and the other two National Grasslands in the state are administered by Nebraska National Forest. All of the tracts are open to livestock grazing.

Within these areas are a few reservoirs, some streams, and several major rivers. The grasslands consist mainly of rolling mixed-grass prairie, with sagebrush, and some trees including cottonwood, elm, and ash along the waterways.

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Grand River National Grassland also has ponderosa pine-covered buttes with massive rock formations, ridges and ravines, and badlands. Wildlife in the region includes white-tailed and mule deer, antelope, coyote, fox, prairie dog, and golden eagle.

Activities: Hiking, backpacking, and horseback riding are allowed, but there are no formal trails. Travel on other than old roads and paths must be cross-country. Canoeing is possible on the Grand River and a few other waterways. Fishing is available, and hunting is permitted in season.

Camping Regulations: Camping is generally unrestricted throughout the National Grasslands, except where posted otherwise. Campfires are allowed, but are subject to being banned during the dry season. No permits are necessary.

For Further Information: Buffalo Gap National Grassland and Fort Pierre National Grassland, c/o Nebraska National Forest, 270 Pine Street, Chadron, NE 69337; (308)432-3367. Grand River National Grassland, c/o Custer National Forest, P.O. Box 2556, Billings, MT 59103; (406)657-6361.

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