Environment & Conservation
The beauty of the Black Hills, the quality of the area environment and access to outdoor recreation top the list of reasons people enjoy living in and visiting the region today. Today and for centuries past, Native Americans used the Hills to pray, conduct ceremonies, and gather plants.
The so-called “island on the prairie” is a forested dome that rises above the surrounding Great Plains, straddling the Wyoming - South Dakota boundary line. Granite outcroppings create the setting for the Hills’ most famous faces. The forest provides habitat for diverse species of wildlife. Though scarce, water has shaped and sustained this environment.
The qualities that attract visitors and residents to the Black Hills and fuel the tourism sector of the economy must be balanced with increased demands of growing population and development. Pure air and excellent water quality are valuable assets, as are natural resources such as timber, grazing land, and open space. Multiple use management strives to conserve the natural assets of the Black Hills while allowing sustainable uses of those resources.
Human activities are not the only challenges to the Hills environment: fire, mountain pine beetles, drought and flood are part of the natural forces that shaped the Black Hills and continue to change the landscape.
Oversight authority for resource management and environmental conservation rests among local, county, regional, state and federal government agencies. Citizens organized to request action to protect land, water and wildlife on septic tank inspections, oversight of uranium mining, designation of trails for off-road vehicles, and hunting mountain lions.
Mountain Pine Beetle
Wind offers high potential as an energy source in western South Dakota and the Black Hills. This dynamic, nearly real-time model of wind patterns in the United States shows why.
Keeping informed on what the GF&P department is doing to help with state conservation efforts while promoting statewide tourism.
The current 2012 drought has caused numerous problems throughout the Black Hills, but it is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that drought and drought conditions visit the area.
This topic covers the mountain lion population and the current issues occuring with its growing presence in the Black Hills region.