"South Dakota’s Badlands are known for sweeping vistas, wonderful colors and roving herds of bison.
The Badlands also are known as a tourist attraction, each year drawing approximately a million visitors, some of whom hike the numerous scenic trails while the majority stick to the single paved highway that winds throughout.
But whereas Badlands National Park
is one of South Dakota’s top tourist destinations, that only can be said about the North Unit, which is near Interstate 90 and an easy side trip for travelers.
The South Unit, equally majestic but lesser known because of its remote location in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, is the subject of debate as the National Park Service
considers the unit’s future management.
Four options are proposed:
1. Leave it as is with NPS in charge and a small management role for the Oglala Sioux Tribe.
2. Increase the tribe’s role to more of an equal partnership.
3. Have the tribe take over but with technical assistance from the NPS.
4. End the park service’s role entirely and hand the unit over to the tribe.
Several members of the Oglala Sioux Parks and Recreation Authority support option No. 3. They realize the tribe doesn’t have the resources to take over the South Unit completely, but they think tribal management with assistance from the NPS could work.
We think the OSPRA officials, who are elected and therefore not under the thumb of the oft-troubled tribal council, are on the right track. If positive changes are going to occur on this state’s reservations, they’re going to have to come mostly from within."
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Our View: Tribe should have role in Badlands
(The Mitchell Daily Republic 5/2)