• Badlands formations against the blue sky; photo by Rikk Flohr


    National Park South Dakota

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  • Visitor Center Open / Road Construction

    Park roads and parking lots are under construction. Expect occasional 10 - 15 minute road construction delays along Hwy 240 Loop Road. There is limited parking at the Ben Reifel Visitor Center. Please follow the signs to park in designate areas.

Aerial Spraying at Badlands National Park Complete

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Date: August 3, 2010
Contact: Milton Haar, 605-433-5285   

BADLANDS NATIONAL PARK, S.D. — Aerial herbicide application for management of invasive weeds is complete for 2010. Canada thistle is a non-native and invasive plant listed as noxious weed in South Dakota. Left untreated, Canada thistle would increase in population, interfere with the natural ecology of Badlands National Park and spread to adjacent land. Badlands National Park contracted with Scott’s Helicopter Services Inc. from Le Sueur, MN to apply herbicide to Canada thistle within the Sage Creek Wilderness Area. Application occurred as weather permitted from July 8th through July 23rd. A total of 6,000 acres were treated. This is the fourth year of aerial spraying in the wilderness. The pilot reported that thistle patches were fewer and much more difficult to find compared to previous years.

The herbicide, Milestone®, was chosen for this application because it effectively controls Canada thistle and is registered under the Reduced Risk Pesticide Initiative of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This registration is reserved for compounds that demonstrate lower risk to the environment and humans than marketplace standards. Outside of wilderness, herbicides are being applied using backpack sprayers and ATV-mounted sprayers. Badlands Plant Ecologist Dr. Milton Haar stated, “We are pleased with the effectiveness of Milestone® and our spraying efforts.” “We are reducing the Canada thistle infestation at Badlands National Park.” Weed management efforts are coordinated with and funded in part by the Northern Great Plains Exotic Plant Management Team; a shared resource for 13 national park units in the northern Great Plains.

This project is funded by the President's Centennial Initiative for the National Park Service. For more information, please contact Milton Haar, PhD, Badlands Plant Ecologist (605) 433-5285.



Did You Know?

Historic photo of the Cedar Pass cabins

The Cedar Pass Lodge dates back to 1928 when Ben Millard and his sister Clara opened the Cedar Pass Camp to provide services to tourists braving the area's dusty, undeveloped roads. The Camp once consisted of a grocery store, gas station, dance hall, and cabins. It remains an oasis for travelers.