Northern Region Viewing Area
LOCATION and PHOTOS
Forest: Dakota Prairie National Grasslands
District: Grand River Ranger District
Description: The Grand River Ranger District manages 161,000 acres of mixed grass prairie. Small patches of green ash woodland, plains cottonwood forest, and badlands topography, as well as scattered stock ponds, provide additional diversity. Pasture 9 contains examples of all of these habitats. This area is best explored by foot, mountain bike, or horseback along the 7-mile long Blacktail trail. A rough two-track road network (Forest Service Roads #5762 and #5626) loop through this pasture as well. Please leave all gates as you find them (i.e. either open or closed). Because of the mix of public and private land ownerships here, a visitor map can be very useful. These maps are for sale at the district office in Lemmon.
Watch for purple prairie clover, silver-lead scurf pea, lead plant, crested beardstongue, spiderwort, pasque flower, purple coneflower, wild onion, black-eyed susan, and white milkwort. Near clay buttes, look for gumbo lily, as well as the endemic Dakota buckwheat.
Safety First: Dakota Prairie Grasslands: Safety Reminders.
Directions: From Lemmon, South Dakota, follow US Highway 12 west for 0.5 mile. Turn left (south) onto South Dakota Highway 73. In 16 miles, turn left (east) onto Forest Service Road #5626. In another 0.5 mile, turn left (north) onto Forest Service Road #5740. You will reach the exclosure fence around the Pasture 9 Wildlife Area in 1 mile. Park here to access the Blacktail Trail trailhead (planned for construction in summer 2006). Note: you will need a high-clearance vehicle to use of Forest Service Roads #5760, #5762, and #5626.
Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service, Dakota Prairie Grasslands: Grand River Ranger District, (605) 374-3592.
Closest Town: Shadehill, South Dakota.