History of Badlands National Monument
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In 1951 the National Park Service (NPS) launched the concept of developing a documented history for each unit of the national park system. Known since 1964 as "park" histories, the studies were to be general in scope, spanning the history of each area with emphasis on park origin, legislation, visitor use, and all aspects of management.

Although sporadic research on local area history was done by the NPS in the 1950's and early 1960's, comprehensive research studies that finally led to a park history for Badlands National Monument did not start until 1964. In that year Ray H. Mattison, former Visitor Services Coordinator and Historian for the Midwest Region of the NPS, began the project by selecting some 300 pages of reference materials from the National Archives. Additional bibliographical materials were located in the Congressional Record, NPS historical files, and elsewhere. Former Chief Park Naturalist Robert A. Grom of Badlands National Monument did much in gathering photographs, maps, and historical data, and in writing additions and revising parts of the various drafts prepared by Mattison. By the end of 1965 a manuscript was completed, but publication was delayed. Mattison retired from the NPS in 1965 and Grom was transferred in May 1966.

In 1967 more historical evidence came to light which resulted in the editing, updating, and expanding of the 1965 manuscript. Much of this work was done by Joanne W. Stockert, wife of the Chief Park Naturalist. Copies of all documents and references not found locally but which were used as bibliography in the final manuscript were obtained for the files or library of Badlands National Monument. For those who are interested in learning how this national monument has evolved to the present time, the Badlands Natural History Association has published this history with the hope that it will provide a basic source of historical information on Badlands National Monument.

John W. Stockert
Executive Secretary
Badlands Natural History Association

February 19, 1968


History of Badlands National Monument
©1968, Badlands Natural History Association
badlands/intro.htm — 04-Feb-2005

Copyright © 1968 by the Badlands Natural History Association and may not be reproduced in any manner without the written consent of the Badlands Natural History Association.