Last updated: March 3, 2011
The rugged beauty of the Badlands draws visitors from around the world. These striking geologic deposits contain one of the world’s richest fossil beds. Ancient mammals such as the rhino, horse, and saber-toothed cat once roamed here. The park’s 244,000 acres protect an expanse of mixed-grass prairie where bison, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, and black-footed ferrets live today.
Immerse yourself within the third longest cave in the world. With over 180 miles of mapped and surveyed passages, this underground wilderness appeals to human curiosity. Its splendor is revealed through fragile formations and glimpses of brilliant color. Its maze of passages lure explorers, and its scientific wealth remains a mystery. This resource is truly a jewel in the National Park Service.
National Historic Trail
Eleven States: ID,IL,IA,KS,MO,MT,NE,ND,OR,SD,WA
Between May 1804 and September 1806, 31 men, one woman, and a baby traveled from the plains of the Midwest to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. They called themselves the Corps of Discovery. In their search for a water route to the Pacific Ocean, they opened a window into the west for the young United States.
National Historic Site
Southwestern , SD
During the Cold War, a vast arsenal of nuclear missiles were placed in the Great Plains. Hidden in plain sight, for thirty years 1,000 missiles were kept on constant alert; hundreds remain today. The Minuteman Missile remains an iconic weapon in the American nuclear arsenal. It holds the power to destroy civilization, but is meant as a nuclear deterrent to maintain peace and prevent war.
National Recreational River
Imagine a 100-mile stretch of North America's longest river, a vestige of the untamed American West. The Missouri National Recreational River is where imagination meets reality. Two free flowing stretches of the Missouri make up the National Park. Relive the past by making an exploration of the wild, untamed and mighty river that continues to flow as nature intended.
Majestic figures of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, surrounded by the beauty of the Black Hills of South Dakota, tell the story of the birth, growth, development and preservation of this country. From the history of the first inhabitants to the diversity of America today, Mount Rushmore brings visitors face to face with the rich heritage we all share.
Hot Springs, SD
Bison, elk, and other wildlife roam the rolling prairie grasslands and forested hillsides of one of America's oldest national parks. Below the remnant island of intact prairie sits Wind Cave, one of the longest and most complex caves in the world. Named for barometric winds at its entrance, this maze of passages is home to boxwork, a unique formation rarely found elsewhere.
By The Numbers
- 6 National Parks
- 4,439,428 Visitors to National Parks
- $292,600,000 Economic Benefit from National Park Tourism »
- $83,495,555 of Rehabilitation Projects Stimulated by Tax Incentives (since 1995) »
- $37,945,401 of Land & Water Conservation Fund Appropriated for Projects (since 1965) »
- 19 Certified Local Governments »
- 18 Community Conservation & Recreation Projects (since 1987) »
- 201 Acres Transferred by Federal Lands to Parks for Local Parks and Recreation (since 1948) »
- 27,326 Hours Donated by Volunteers »
- 1 Wild & Scenic Rivers Managed by NPS »
- 1 National Trails Managed by NPS »
- 1,325 National Register of Historic Places Listings »
- 16 National Historic Landmarks »
- 13 National Natural Landmarks »
- 147 Places Recorded by Heritage Documentation Programs »
- 646,217 Objects in National Park Museum Collections »
- 582 Archeological Sites in National Parks »
- 2 Teaching with Historic Places Lesson Plans »
- 9 Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itineraries »
- Download the summary »
These numbers are just a sample of the National Park Service's work. Figures are for the fiscal year that ended 9/30/2016.