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Prairies in Badlands National Park in South Dakota

ProjectSitePrairies in Badlands National Park in South Dakota

GeographicRegion: Prairies in Badlands National Park in South Dakota

Questionsand Answers

1.Settlements/communities are often located at a particular sitebecause of the site`s industrial and/or resource potential. Forexample, many towns in the Appalachians were established where coaldeposits existed and thus, the coal industry thrived. Were there anypreexisting economic resources or advantages about your area thatcaused people to settle there?

Oneof the preexisting resources at the Prairiesin Badlands National Park in South Dakota is the vast grasslandvegetation that forms the prairies. The grassland influenced peopleto settle in the region because they provided the perfect land forhunting and farming. Since the historical settlement by the NativeAmericans, Badlands National Park in South Dakota was known for thevast flat land with grass and vegetation for the people and wildlife. The second preexisting economic advantage is the presence of fossilsin the Badlands National Park, located in South Dakota (NationalGeographic, n.d).The presence of fossils attracts fossil hunters to the site and hasinfluenced the settlement in the region. One of the famoussettlements in the area was the homesteads of the white settlers fromEurope (Weiser, 2003).

2.In the past what were the major economic activities of your site?INCLUDE a discussion of what resources were needed for theseindustries and also describe what physical characteristics of yoursite made it an appropriate place for these activities.

Oneof the major economic activities in the past at BadlandsNational Park in South Dakota was nomadic hunting by the nomadictribes. The nomadic life of the residents in the region of BadlandsNational Park in South Dakota was facilitated by the availability oflarge grasslands that gave the people the hunting ground. Thephysical terrain of the site and plains covered with grassland gavethe people an appropriate location (Williams,2010).Another economic activity was gold mining, which was done in theregion for as early as the 1870s (Weiser, 2003). The region hadsustainable gold deposits in the Great Plains in the past and miningit was part of the legends of the economic achievements of theBadlands.

3.Currently, what are the major economic activities of your site?INCLUDE a discussion of what resources are needed for theseindustries and also describe what physical characteristics of yoursite make it an appropriate place for these activities. For thisquestion, you should consider the infrastructure (roads, sewers,utilities) as a physical characteristic of the site.

Currently,one of the major economic activities is tourism in the BadlandsNational Park in South Dakota. Tourism is facilitated by the sereneview of the grassland at the Great Plains. People are attracted toBadlands National Park by the large plains and the historicalsignificance of the region with the remains of the homesteads and theheritage of the past. Some of the major tourism sites at the Prairiesin Badlands National Park are the hiking trails like Castle trail,Door trail, Fossil Exhibit Trail, the Notch Trail, Saddle Pass Trail,and the Window Trail (Williams,2010).Biking, camping and Picnicking is other tourism activities that arecommon in the Prairies in Badlands National Park (Williams,2010).The other economic activity in the region is fossil hunting, which isinfluenced by the need to explore the past history. The region isregarded as one of the areas in America that contains large depositsof fossils of the past that give important history of America.

4.How does your site`s economic activity influence the development nearyour site (e.g. establishment of towns and advancement of thecommunity)? For this question, you should examine how site activitieshave influences beyond the site boundary.

Becauseof the economic activities at the BadlandsNational Park, the region around the site in South Dakota hasdeveloped. The region has achieved the development of propertransport system and communication infrastructure. As a result of theeconomic development, towns have developed and urban centers grownaround the Badlands National Park. A good example of the urban centeris the growth of Wall, South Dakota City that is near the BadlandsNational Park. At the park, the Ben Reifel Visitor Center was builtto facilitate the tourism activity and promote the site.

5.Describe your landscape site`s contribution to the regional economydoes it provide a unique economic contribution or the same as thesurrounding area?

Theregional economy in South Dakota has significantly benefited from theBadlandsNational Park. The economy of the region has grown with the growth ofthe infrastructure that is developed around the park. Marked bytransport and communication systems around the region, theinfrastructure has helped residents to grow other businesses, farmingand travelling. The landscape has also contributed income to theregion, which has given the local authority finance to develop theregion. The income from the park helps authorities to funddevelopment projects in the region, which benefits all the people,residents and visitors alike.

6.Identify any trends in economic activity in your area. For example,has there been a shift from dependence primarily on natural resourceindustries or an emergence of more service industry in recent years?Has there been a balance between different types of economic activityin the area over time?

Oneof the trends in economic activity at the Prairies in BadlandsNational Park is the change from the primary reliance on the site formining to tourism. In the late nineteenth century, the region wasused for mining, with people searching for gold deposits at the site.However, in the twentieth century, people shifted to tourism becauseof the discovery of the historical significance of the Great Plains.Another trend is the shift from hunting in the ancient times to thecurrent use of the land as a fossil deposit. Now the hunting that canbe done in the landscape is fossil hunting, as a way of discoveringnew heritage.

7.What physical characteristics of the site constrained or limited yourlandscape site’s usage?

Oneof the main physical characteristics that constrain the landscape isthe rocky locations of the site. The rocky land leaves the landscapeout without any significant vegetative cover that exposes the land toerosion. As a result of this exposure, the land is susceptible tosoil erosion that damages the original serenity of the land. Inaddition, the region is limited by the frequent droughts that happenin the region. According to the NorthwesternUniversity (2006),the prairies of South Dakota face at least five draughts in every tenyears. This constrains the growth of vegetation in the grassland. Itshould be noted that the grassland vegetation is one of the maincharacteristics that define the region.

8.What is the land value of your site or what are the land valueswithin your site? Compare the land value(s) of your site with thosefound in the region, state, nationally, or globally.

Theland value of the Prairies in Badlands National Park is high as theregion has been preserved and protected by the National Park Service.The National Park Service acquired around 242,756 acres, while theBadlands Wilderness manages around 64,144 acres(Williams,2010).Itis complex to value that land because of the factors that change thevalue of the park. However, the land values in South Dakota arearound half a million dollars per acre in prime areas. The value ofland in the park is lower than the value of land in other regions inAmerica. This is because there are other areas that are moreexpensive because of the developments that are there, and not in thePrairies in Badlands National Park region.

9.Identify, at least one positive externality, and describe itssignificance.

Oneof the positive externalities is a historical heritage provided bythe fossils found at the site. The fossils give a sense of belongingand pride to the people of the region and America at large. Accordingto The NationalGeographic (n.d),the Badlands National Park is one of the largest deposits of mammalfossils in the United States. In addition, the homesteads located inthe Prairies in Badlands National Park offer a sense of historicalfacts about the early settlement in the region. The other positiveexternality is the serene landscape that the region offers the peopleof the Prairies in Badlands National Park. The grasslands offer abeautiful view of nature and provide a good interaction betweenpeople and the environment.

10.Identify, at least one negative externality, and describe itssignificance

Theuse of the region of the park is affected by soil erosion. This isbecause some areas are affected by human activity, and contributes tothe high level of soil erosion. According to NorthwesternUniversity (2006), the region has one of the highest erosion levelsin the united states. Theerosion affects the future use of the region by degrading the land.Another negative externality at the Prairies in Badlands NationalPark site is the denial of active use of land at the park by localpeople because it is controlled by the National Park Service. Thisdenies the people other economic benefits that could have accrued tothem if they still owned the land. The relocation gave them otherplaces that are not like the site.

11.Have the opportunity or constraints of your site changed over time?

Theopportunities on the site have changed over time. During the ancientsettlement, people saw the land and vegetation filled with wildlifeas a great economic opportunity for hunting. However, with thediscovery of gold deposits in the nineteenth century, the regionpresented opportunity for mining, which formed the greatest economicactivities on the site during the late nineteenth century. As timesmoved, the discovery of the fossil deposits at the site made itsignificant for historical purposes and opened more opportunities forthe land. In the vast region of South Dakota, the region hasopportunities in agriculture because of the good rains and the supplyof water from the rivers that flow in the region.

12.Describe the political history of your site:

Thepolitical history of the Prairies in Badlands National Park in SouthDakota dates back to the native times when the region was controlledby the native tribes of Lakotaand Dakota Sioux.According to Weiser (2003), the region was originally habited by theNative Americans who hunted and led a nomadic life. Before theseventeenth century, the control of the region changed from communityto community because of the economic significance of the miningactivities. However, the control of the white settlers who werecalled the homesteaders in the nineteenth century changed the historyof the region. The homesteaders grew the areas with economicactivities like farming and gold mining, which led to the growth inpopulation that warranted statehood by the late nineteenth century.The state of South Dakota was admitted to the Union in 1889 and namedafter the dominant native tribes of theLakota and the Dakota Sioux.The park is now controlled by the National Park Service and the localstate authorities.

13.Identify a local policy that has influenced how your landscape hasbeen or is being used. Local policies include city or townshipregulations/ordinances, local taxation policies and local buildingdisincentives/incentives:

Oneof the local policies that have influenced the use of the Prairies inBadlands National Park landscape is the co-management policy that ismade between the National Park Service and the OglalaLakota Tribe. The co-management is meant to benefit both the federalgovernment and the local residents of the South Dakota region. Thepolicy involves division of roles that are played by each managingbody. While the National Park Service seeks to maintain thecommercial aspects of the park, the Oglala Lakota Tribe is meant topromote the conservation and heritage of the landscape. Another localpolicy at the park is the control of the human activity to protectexcessive soil erosion that threatens some areas of the park.

14.Identify a state policy that has influenced how your landscape hasbeen or is being used. State policies include land subdivisionregulations land preservation programs, environmental policies:

Astate policy that has significantly influenced the use of thePrairies in Badlands National Park site is the South DakotaConservationLaw Enforcement policy.The policy is enumerated by the state creed called the ConservationLaw Enforcement Creed (SouthDakota State, 2015).Under this policy, the states commit to protect the parks andrecreational facilities in its authority. The policy also seeks toguard the natural resources that are in the state and encourageconservation of these resources (SouthDakota State, 2015).In addition, the policy is meant to educate the public on theimportance of wildlife and the natural resources that can be found inthe state parks.

15.Identify a national policy that has influenced how your landscape hasbeen or is being used. National policies include environmentalpolicies such as the Clean Water Act a NEPA, national transportationpolicies, and federal housing programs:

Oneof the local policies that has influenced the use of the landscape atthe Prairies in Badlands National Park is the Organic Act of 1916.This act created the National Park Service of the United States,which is mandated to control the areas declared as federal nationalparks. The National Park Service acts as the agency of the Departmentof Interior to acquire designated lands and manage them for thefederal government. The Badlands National Park is part of the regionin the United States controlled by the National Park Service underthe Organic Act.

16.Describe a political process that influences how your landscape isused or managed?

Oneof the political processes that influence the use of the Prairies inBadlands National Park is the InterstateWildlife Violators Compact.This is an agreement among the member states to curb wildlifeviolations and share information regarding the use of wildlife inactivities like hunting and fishing (SouthDakota, 2015).The agreement among the states aims at maintaining and protectingwildlife though an agreement on the laws and policies that guide theconsequences of violation of the compact. The states have agreed onthe consequences of violating wildlife protection regulations. Theprocess of facing the consequences is divided into two that of theresidents and non-residents. A resident of South Dakota who violatesthe regulations of the agreement risks losing any right of access towildlife (SouthDakota, 2015).A non-resident who violates the regulations will have the sameconsequences, but information will be shared with other participatingstates. This reduces the privileges of a person over the access towildlife. This way, South Dakota protects its wildlife in all areas,including the Prairies in Badlands National Park.


NationalGeographic, BadlandsNational Park,Retrieved From,&lt 20, 2015

NorthwesternUniversity, 2006. BadlandsNational Park, North Unit, General Management Plan: EnvironmentalImpact Statement, UnitedStates National Park Service. Northwestern:Northwestern University

SouthDakota State, 2015, ConservationLaw Enforcement Creed.Retrieved From, &lt June20, 2015

SouthDakota, 2015, InterstateWildlife Violators Compact.Retrieved From,&lt June20, 2015

Weiser,K. (2003). SouthDakota Legends: Badlands National Park.Retrieved From, &lt 20, 2015

Williams,A. (2010). BadlandsNational Park,Retrieved From,&lt 20, 2015