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U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Windmills on the National Grasslands

To some, a windmill may be seen as a machine, but for those that live on the open plains a windmill is seen as a life tool. A windmill converts the energy of the wind to rotational motion that pumps fresh water from underground. They are recognized as a sign of settlement and livestock production. Across the grasslands, windmills are a mark of historical and cultural significance. Today, much larger windmills bring attention to the vastness of the landscape and also provide a source of energy.

Windmills, stock tanks, and pipelines are types of water improvements permitted by the Forest Service. Some National Grasslands have numerous windmills while others have only a handful. Stock ponds and pipeline development provide better quality and reliance of water flow reducing the need for windmills.

This exhibit is on display at the National Grasslands Visitor Center, Wall, South Dakota.

Windmills Gallery

Also visit “The Lone Tree Exhibit”…