Groups working to form the nation’s first tribal national park on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation moved one step closer to their goal this week.
The National Parks Service announced Thursday that the final General Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement for the South Unit of Badlands National Park has been completed and released, a NPS press release said.
The South Unit of Badlands National Park is entirely within the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in southwestern South Dakota. The Park Service and the Tribe have worked together to manage the South Unit’s 133,000 acres for almost 40 years. If a tribal national park is enabled by Congress through legislation, the Oglala Sioux people could manage and operate their lands for the educational and recreational benefit of the general public, including a new Lakota Heritage and Education Center.
Work to create the official national park has been ongoing since 2006. Partner groups include the NPS, Oglala Sioux Tribe, and the Oglala Sioux Parks and Recreation Authority.
Under the plan, the National Park Service and the Tribe will focus on restoring the health and vibrancy of the prairie to enhance wildlife habitat, expanding bison into the South Unit, providing roads and trails and providing greater opportunities for visitors to experience the natural grandeur of the South Unit and the heritage of the Oglala Sioux people.
The National Park Service is expected to sign the Record of Decision for the GMP/EIS this summer; however, congressional legislation is necessary before the Service can implement the Plan’s Preferred Management Option. In the meantime, the Park Service and Tribe may prepare for and implement appropriate parts of the plan and identify the components of a tribal national park that need to be addressed by legislation.
Here’s the full press release from NPS:
BADLANDS NATIONAL PARK, S.D. — Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis today announced the release of the final General Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement for the South Unit of Badlands National Park, recommending the establishment of the nation’s first tribal national park in partnership with the Oglala Sioux Tribe.
Read the rest of this entry »
Tags: badland, national parks service, nps, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, salazar, south unit of badlands national park
Sen. Jon Tester, D-MT, announced last week he has nominated Elouise Cobell for the national Citizen Service Before Self award given to three people each year.
Cobell was the lead plaintiff on the groundbreaking land trust misuse settlement approved late in 2011 by the federal government after almost 16 years of fighting by Cobell and her attorneys.
The historic settlement calls for $3.4 billion to be distributed to qualified plaintiffs and to buy back a patchwork of trust land but payouts from the settlements have been held up recently.
Tester sent this opinion piece with the announcement:
Every year, only three Americans are honored with the Citizen Service Before Self award—one of the most prestigious honors awarded by our nation. This year, I nominated my friend Elouise Cobell to be one of them.
Elouise pursued justice and fairness for all Indian people until she passed away last fall.
Read the rest of this entry »
Tags: citizen service before self, Cobell, Elouise Cobell, Jon Tester, land trust, salazar