DescriptionSix miles north of Crawford via SR 2, the Oglala National Grassland occupies 94,500 acres along the South Dakota and Wyoming borders. Part of the Pine Ridge Ranger District of Nebraska National Forests and Grasslands, the Oglala grassland contains native Nebraska grasses and a variety of prairie wildlife including pronghorn antelopes, black-tailed prairie dogs, red and swift foxes, hawks, coyotes and golden eagles.
Toadstool Geologic Park contains mushroomlike rock formations created by erosion; an interpretive trail and kiosk explain the geology. The Hudson-Meng Education and Research Center , an ongoing archeological excavation containing 10,000-year-old skeletons of several hundred buffalo, is considered the largest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. Excavations are conducted seasonally at the site, which features interpretive exhibits and guided tours. Visitors are encouraged to form their own theories about how so many bison ended up in this bone bed. Guided tours are available.
The 3-mile Bison Trail connects the geologic park and the kill site. Within the grassland boundaries horseback riding, camping, hiking and picnicking are permitted as well as hunting and fishing under state regulations. Winter activities include snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, ice fishing and ice skating.
Because both public and private land is intermingled throughout the grassland, maps are available at the forest service office to help visitors avoid trespassing. During certain times of the year, local ranchers run their livestock on the range; visitors should observe the herds from a safe distance.
The grassland is open daily 24 hours. The Hudson-Meng Education and Research Center is open daily 9-5, Memorial Day-Labor Day. Admission to Oglala National Grassland is free. Hudson-Meng Education and Research Center $5; $4.50 (ages 60+); $3 (ages 5-12). Guided tours are available.
For general information, phone (308) 432-0300; phone (308) 665-3900 for general Hudson-Meng information or for Hudson-Meng guided tour information.