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

    Badlands

    National Park South Dakota

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    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.

Badlands Ferret Festival

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Date: September 16, 2011
Contact: Jennie Albrinck, 605-433-5240
Contact: Julie Johndreau, 605-433-5240

BADLANDS NATIONAL PARK, Interior, S.D. - Badlands National Park will commemorate the rediscovery of black-footed ferrets in the wild with a Ferret Festival from September 24-26, 2011.  Activities will include a prairie puppet show, a live ferret with informal talks, scientific lectures, a ferret exhibit, children's activities, prairie walks, and an evening slide presentation. These are all included in the park admission fee.  

A ceremonial release of several captive ferrets back to the wild is planned for the evening of Friday, September 23, location to be determined. Night spotlighting to view ferrets in their natural habitat will be offered on a reservation system. Please contact Pam Livermont at 605.433.5281 for additional information or to make a reservation. On Saturday and Sunday, please inquire at the Ben Reifel Visitor Center information desk, or call 605.433.5241.

Early settlers to the North American prairie encountered black-footed ferrets as a component of the Western Great Plains ecosystem. At that time, ferrets thrived in areas like the Badlands where their primary food source - the prairie dog - was plentiful. With such a specific diet, black-footed ferrets became susceptible to any hardship that befell the prairie dog colonies. Populations at Badlands National Park are due to years of efforts by park biologists, and scientists from neighboring agencies and partners. The breeding and release program has been successful in this park, and in other protected areas such as Wind Cave National Park.

This event is made possible through funding and cooperation from World Wildlife Fund, Badlands Natural History Association, Prairie Dog Coalition, Black-footed Ferret Recovery Implementation Team, Nature Conservancy, Prairie Wildlife Research, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service.

Badlands National Park is located 9 miles south of exit 131, Interstate 90. If you have any questions about the Ferret Festival, and/or would like more information about the park, including camping and lodging, please call 605-433-5361, or visit www.nps.gov/badl .


-NPS


Ferret Festival Schedule of Events


Saturday, Sept. 24:  

Prairie puppet show and other Junior Ranger activities for the kids
Live ferret on display at the Ben Reifel Visitor Center
1:00 pm, Ben Reifel Visitor Center Theater
Panel Discussions with people responsible for the recovery of the black-footed ferret

7:00 pm, Ben Reifel Visitor Center Theater
Special Screening of "Return of the Prairie Bandit" documentary on the re-introduction of black-footed ferrets to Grasslands National Park in Canada


Sunday, Sept. 25:  

Prairie puppet show and other Junior Ranger activities for the kids
Live ferret on display at the Ben Reifel Visitor Center
1:00 -5:00 pm, Ben Reifel Visitor Center Theater
Symposium on the Science of Ferret Recovery (Genetic bottlenecks, captive, breeding, and sylvatic plague)  

7:00 pm, Ben Reifel Visitor Center Theater
Presentation & book signing by nature photographer Michael Forsberg: "The Great Plains", his beautiful new book celebrating America's grasslands

9:30 pm to Midnight
Guided Public spotlighting for ferrets by reservation only


Monday, Sept. 26:

1:00 - 5:00 pm, Ben Reifel Visitor Center Theater
Featured Speakers on ferret reintroduction at Wind Cave National Park, Turner Ranches and Tribal Lands, and The Nature Conservancy's conservation efforts in western South Dakota

7:00 pm, Ben Reifel Visitor Center Theater
Noted author, bison rancher and falconer Dan O'Brien will give a presentation on prairie conservation

9:30 pm to Midnight
Guided Public spotlighting for ferrets by reservation only


 

Did You Know?

Ben Reifel speaking at the Cedar Pass Campground Amphitheater - 1971

The Ben Reifel Visitor Center was named after Ben Reifel, the first congressman from the Sioux Nation, who served 5 terms. Afterwards, he served as consultant and Special Assistant for Indian Programs to the Director of the National Park Service. Badlands was his favorite national park.