Badlands National Park, an area of 244,000 acres in South Dakota, is a mixture of prairies and eroded rock formations. Congress established the region as a national park in November 1978 after President Franklin Roosevelt designated the region as a national monument in 1939.
The wildlife of the park includes the black-footed ferret, bison and bighorn sheep. The ferret is North America's rarest of mammals, with only 18 existing in the wild as late as 1985, but the species has made a comeback since.
Hiking in the park is a popular activity, but hikers must make sure to carry plenty of water and be aware of the rapid weather changes that often take place.
Backcountry camping does not require a fee, but any camps must be at least half a mile from any trail or road. At no time can campers start an open fire because of the high danger of wildfires that exist within the park.
It is not uncommon for hikers to find fossils in Badlands National Park. Those making discoveries of large fossils should carefully note where the location of the find is and alert park rangers.
The park allows horseback riding except on roads, in developed portions of the park and on marked trails. Conversely, biking is only possible by park rules on the established roads within its boundaries.