Badlands National Park

February 3, 2015Landscapes

When the country was still young, pioneers and cowboys headed west to find a home where the buffalo roam. What they found was the vast American prairie, rolling hills and open plains that were home to herds of bison and seemingly infinite colonies of prairie dogs. Today most of this rich land is the breadbasket of the world. But in Badlands National Park (Wyoming), more than 60,000 acres of amber waves are preserved just as the settlers found them: vast and free.

Buffalo staring in the grassy plains of the badlands

The Badlands got their name from the otherworldly gullies and ravines that characterize sections of the park. Fossil beds found among those stark rocks and hills date back 35 million years. But the gentler prairie lands hold a piece of natural history as well: Biologists have chosen sites here to reintroduce one of the most endangered mammals on the planet, the black-footed ferret.

Learn more about this unique landscape at nps.gov/badl.

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