The Badlands National Park in South Dakota is a must see visit with striking geologic deposits containing one of the world's richest fossil beds ... including ancient mammals like the rhino, horse, and saber-toothed cat. 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 with 64,144 acres of the largest prairie wilderness in the United States.
The Badlands were formed by the geologic forces of deposition and erosion. Deposition of sediments began 69 million years ago when an ancient sea stretched across what is now the Great Plains. After the sea retreated, successive land environments, including rivers and flood plains, continued to deposit sediments. Although the major period of deposition ended 28 million years ago, significant erosion of the Badlands did not begin until a mere half a million years ago. Erosion continues to carve the Badlands buttes today. Eventually, the Badlands will completely erode away. One of the most complete fossil accumulations in North America is found within the park. The rocks and fossils preserve evidence of ancient ecosystems and give scientists clues about how early mammal species lived.
USA Patriotism! video with filming by Colby Kuykendall, 2015