NPS considers returning half of Badlands National Park to Oglala Sioux
The National Park Service is considering returning the southern half of Badlands National Park in South Dakota to the Oglala Sioux tribe. Under the proposal, the northern half would remain a national park, but the 133,000-acre southern half would be returned to the tribe. The land was seized from the Oglala Sioux by the military in World War II for use as a bombing range. A three-year occupation of the southern half of the park by a small group of militant tribe members, beginning in 2000, appears to have had an affect on NPS management decisions since the proposal is now getting serious consideration. If it goes forward, the area could continue to be jointly managed by the park service and the Oglala Sioux, it could be managed as a park exclusively by the tribe, or it could be turned over wholly to the tribe; the plan is in its early stages and would require approval from Congress. Badlands is perhaps most renowned for its rich fossil beds, though it is also the largest protected expanse of prairie in the national park system.