National Geographic : 2004 Apr
CARRCLIFTON,MINDENPICTURES;AMERICANPHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY(BELOW) GO THERE Sheep Mountain: Ringed by canyons and jagged pinnacles, Sheep Mountain Table, in Badlands National Park's less developed South Unit, offers a ringside seat to the drama of the Badlands and an opportunity to get away steeply around them. Though within the boundaries of the national park (above), parts of the table belong to the Pine Ridge Indian Reserva tion, owned by the Oglala Sioux. (Edward Curtis photographed Teton Sioux on the table in 1904, left.) Although most Oglala EDWARDCURTs Sioux now live south of the park, they still ASacred Place perform religious ritu als on the table, tying from summer traffic on prayer flags and offer park loop roads. ings of tobacco to Rising 3,282 feet, plants, which visitors Sheep Mountain covers should not disturb. 1,200 acres, one of the One warning: The area's largest sod tables seven-mile unmain -f lat grassy areas iso- tained dirt road to the lated by ancient streams top of the table is pass that carved claystone able only when dry. Echoes of the Sioux Ghost Dance On another sod table Stronghold-the Sioux performed one of the last Ghost Dances, in 1890. The ritual, the Sioux believed, would bring the return of their lands, buffalo, and dead relatives; special shirts would repel the bullets of the U.S. Army. Later that year over 200 Sioux died in the Wounded Knee massacre south of what is now the park. WEBSITE EXCLUSIVE Get the goods on the Bad lands-the who, what, when, and how of traveling there at nationalgeographic.com/ magazine/0404. GET INVOLVED Hornless rhinos, The Big Pig ig miniature horses, tiny IIDr 1 deer-a lost world underlies the Badlands. i- Paleontologists stam '@ , peded here in the 1850s . \ after the discovery of ' • a vast bed of mammal fossils. Today about 10,000 people a year visit a site called the Big Pig Dig (after Archaeo Stherium,left, a piglike mammal found there). Tolearn moreabout a subject coveredInthis issue, try these National Geographic Society products and services. Call 1-888-225-5647 or log onto nationalgeographic.com for moreinformation. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC But you can't touch any of the site's 33-million year-old fossils unless you have a permit or join a two-week collect ing expedition run by the Museum of Geology at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in July. At museum.sdsmt.edu, find out how to sign up for one of the few slots available to the public. FROM THE SOCIETY * Badlands National ParkTrails Illustrated Map. Atear-resistant waterproof topographic map to help you find your way inthe Badlands. Comes with wilderness regulations and safety tips. Other South Dakota maps also available ($9.95). * Guide to the National Parks of the United States book. Learn more about Bad lands and other parks. Updated; includes suggestions for regional day trips ($24.95). * The Complete TrallSmart Maps: National Parks of the USA. Print your own customized topographic maps of trails-with elevation statistics-in Badlands and other U.S. national parks with this five CD-ROM set. Works with GPS ($49.95).