Badlands National Park Feature
People in the Park
Much of the credit for setting aside South Dakota's badlands as public lands is owed to Peter Norbeck, a powerful politician who was also largely responsible for establishing nearby Custer State Park and obtaining federal funding for Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Convinced that the state's badlands formations were more distinctive than those in other parts of the American West, Norbeck began lobbying for a new national park almost immediately after he was elected a U.S. Senator in 1920. Political maneuvering tied up the proposal in Congress for nearly 10 years, and land issues delayed the measure for another decade. Finally, on March 4, 1929, the region was declared Badlands National Monument by President Calvin Coolidge. It was promoted to a national park in 1978.
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