This is a land of myths and legends, a place whose geological history is just as enthralling as the mythology ancient peoples used to explain the strange shapes and formations they found here. Like the buttes, pinnacles, spires, and prairies found here, the Lakota people who call it home have endured throughout the centuries. To them, this is Makȟóšiča, a place of punishment, and those who lived here often found doing so punishing. After enduring here for centuries, the Lakota found themselves moved off their sacred land so prospectors, farmers and the military could take it over. They fought for this land just south of here at Wounded Knee and today still keep watch over this sacred area from the nearby reservations they have been relegated to. Both beautiful and dangerous, this area is known as the Badlands.
Badlands National Park has long been sacred to the Oglala Lakota and today, portions of the park are surrounded by the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The Lakota once roamed this area and the nearby Black Hills freely, and now work to ensure their ancestral lands are preserved for future generations. A national monument since the 1920s, it wasn’t until 1978 that the Badlands achieved national park status. By then, the land had seen the clashes between its native inhabitants and homesteaders, the last of the ghost dances, been used as a U.S. Air Force base, and a touchstone for the members of the American Indian Movement. Inhospitable as they may seem, the Badlands are iconic not only because of the natural wonders found here but also because of the cultural history and legacy they stand for.
Wind Cave is considered the sixth largest cave in the world, though an average of four new miles of cave is discovered here every year. In addition to its lengthy reputation, Wind Cave is home of boxwork formations, some of the rarest cave formations in the world. In fact, 95 percent of the known boxwork cave formations in the world are found here in Wind Cave. Most importantly, Wind Cave was the first cave ever given protection under a national park designation, setting an important precedent for future national parks.
Dedicated to all things travel, places I have been and places I want to go.