National Park Service (NPS) units provide unique opportunities for scientific research. Because these areas are preserved and protected, they can be studied as reference points for comparisons with similar, altered environments. Research at Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site (NHS) contributes to the understanding of the area’s natural and cultural resources. This information sees use for planning, management, and sharing with partners and the public.
Research at Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site covers a wide range of subjects including archaeology, geology, soil, fish, birds, plants, and water. Sand Creek Massacre NHS is part of the Southern Plains Network, a group of NPS units with similar ecosystems created by the NPS Inventory and Monitoring (I&M) Program. This program works to inventory natural resources and park ecosystems while monitoring these resources to better understand their dynamic nature.
Scientists with the Southern Plains Network collect and analyze information that contributes to our understanding of human and ecological processes and resources in Sand Creek Massacre NHS and other network parks. This information is used for decision making, working with other agencies and partners, and communicating with the public to protect the natural systems and native species of the area.
Several years of research and cooperation between tribes, state and federal agencies, universities, and affected landowners contributed to the establishment of the Sand Creek Massacre site as a NPS unit in 2007. Continued research in Sand Creek Massacre NHS and other parks will expand our knowledge of the resources preserved and protected by the NPS. To apply for a research permit or learn about park research needs, visit the Research Permit and Reporting System website or the Rocky Mountains Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit website.
Documents on the research of flora, fauna, and natural resources at Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site are available below in .pdf format.
The Insects of the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site
Geophysical and Hydrological:
Preliminary Assessment of Wetland, Riparian, Geomorphology, and Flood Plain Conditions at SAND NHS (2005)
Geophysical Investigations at the Sand Creek Massacre Site (1999)
Geoarcheological Assessment of the Sand Creek Massacre Site (1999)
Geomorphic Assessment of Big Sandy Creek (2011)
Pollen Analysis of Sediment Cores Recovered from SAND NHS (2007)
Threatened and Endangered Species:
Vegetation and Communities:
Vegetation Inventory (2008)
Did You Know?
There were about 650 Colorado troops at Sand Creek. The men suffered a number of casualties. The first death at Sand Creek was likely private George Pierce, Company F, 1st Colorado Regiment. Another KIA was a young man named Joseph Aldrich, Company F, also of the 1st Regiment.