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


    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 National Park Awarded Junior Ranger Ambassador Grant

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Date: May 30, 2008
Contact: Judy Olson, (605) 433-5240

BADLANDS NATIONAL PARK, S.D. — To enhance its Junior Ranger Program for park visitors and further the program’s motto of “Explore – Learn – Protect”, Badlands National Park is proud to announce its selection to receive a Junior Ranger Ambassador for the 2008 summer season. The Junior Ranger Ambassador program, initiated in 2006, employs Student Conservation Association (SCA) interns to assist with the design, delivery, and promotion of Junior Ranger Programs in the National Park Service.


The Junior Ranger program, created by the National Park Service in the 1960’s, engages children in age-appropriate activities that introduce them to the treasures of the National Park system, allowing them to discover the significance of these special places and to understand the importance of protecting them. Today, the Junior Ranger Program serves almost 400,000 children in the parks and includes an online component, WebRangers, which receives over 1 million visitors annually.


Tyra Olstad, Badlands’ Junior Ranger Ambassador, was selected from a competitive applicant pool through the Student Conservation Association. Tyra brings an extensive educational background to the position, including a master’s degree in Geography/Environment and Natural Resources, experience as a park ranger at Petrified Forest National Park, and an enthusiasm for sharing her love of nature with children. Tyra’s energy will be devoted to revising the Junior Ranger Program booklet for children ages 5 through 8. The current booklet, which refers to former exhibits in the Ben Reifel Visitor Center, has been outdated since the visitor center was renovated in 2005.


“I have so many ideas. I can’t wait to get started on the booklet,” Tyra shared with a smile.


In addition, children are invited to assist with the booklet’s revision by participating in a drawing contest, illustrating a story about rattlesnakes. Drawings that best illustrate the story will be featured in the new Junior Ranger Program booklet when complete. Contest rules, an entry form, and the story can be found on the park’s official website, through email, or by calling (605) 433-5245. The contest deadline is June 13, 2008.

Did You Know?

Bison herd in the Badlands Wilderness Area

25% of Badlands National Park is a designated wilderness area. Established in 1976, the Badlands Wilderness Area consists of 64,144 acres of the largest prairie wilderness in the United States. Administered in two units, Sage Creek and Conata Basin, the area is open for backpacking and exploration.