December 10 Road Closure Near Visitor Center
December 10: Badlands Loop Road (Highway 240) will be temporarily closed at Cedar Pass for emergency repair work. The closure is expected to be in place for two to three weeks, weather dependent. An alternate route to access Interstate 90 will be posted. More »
Aerial Spraying of Badlands National Park
Contact: Brian Kenner, (605) 433-5260
BADLANDS NATIONAL PARK, S.D. — Badlands National Park will begin aerial spraying for Canada thistle Monday, June 23. Spraying should be completed by July 4 depending on weather.
The contractor is Dakota Helicopters out of Beulah, North Dakota. The parks anticipates spraying from 5,000 to 8,000 acres of scattered Canada thistle patches throughout the 64,000 acre Badlands Wilderness Area. Dakota Helicopters will be using 2 helicopters, a Hughes and a Bell 206 Jet Ranger. They will be spraying from heights of 10'-15' above the patches with boom sprayers.
We will be using Milestone herbicide, which is a newer chemical produced by Dow for broadleaf weed control. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers it to pose "no real health hazard" and does not classify it as a Restricted Use Pesticide, but it is registered under the EPA's Reduced Risk Pesticide Initiative. This designation is for compounds that demonstrate lower risk to humans and the environment than marketplace standards. It has a low use rate, which means less chemical added to the environment. It is considered "practically non-toxic" to aquatic organisms, fish, and birds. It breaks down into natural soil components and is non-volatile.
Visitors should not be overly concerned about exposure to Milestone. They should avoid Canada thistle patches. Direct exposure may cause moderate eye irritation. If they feel they have come in contact with Milestone, they should wash hands and face before eating. They should wash clothes at the first opportunity.
Milestone will not impact native grasses, but will impact native forbs and shrubs. Low level boom spraying from helicopters following label limitations will allow for maximum coverage of infested acres with minimum impacts to non-target species.
We recognize that these helicopters will be an intrusion into visitors' wilderness experience, but we feel the need to control Canada thistle and reduce its impacts on the park's native prairie warrant the intrusion.
This project is funded by the President's Centennial Initiative for the National Park Service.
For more information, please contact Brian Kenner, Director of Resource Management at (605) 433-5260.
Did You Know?
The yellow and red layers in the badlands formations are fossilized soils, called paleosols. Fossil root traces, burrows, and animal bones found within the soils provide scientists with evidence of environmental and climatic changes that occurred in the badlands over time.