Fort Pierre, in Fort Pierre, SD


The Forest and District

The Fort Pierre National Grassland covers 116,000 acres of mixed grass prairie.  It also, by the land management plan definition, has a wildlife emphasis for the entire area.  There is no developed recreation sites located on the grassland.  The grassland is nationally known for the population of Greater Prairie Chickens that inhabit the area.  Dissected by highway 83 from Vivian to Pierre, the state capital, the grassland is a continuous example to the public of our land management practices.  Recreation, grazing, and wildlife habitats are all major management activities on the grassland. 

The Fort Pierre Ranger District is relatively small in size for number of employees.  The staff includes our District Ranger, Interdisciplinary Range/Wildlife Specialist, Wildlife Biologist, Rangeland Management Specialist, Administrative Support Assistant, Biological Technician, an Engine Foreman, Assistant Engine Foreman, 3 Firefighter crew members. 

Fort Pierre National Grassland is part of Nebraska National Forest, which encompasses nearly 1.1 million acres of land in central and northwest Nebraska and central and southwest South Dakota.  Included in that total are the Nebraska and Samuel R. McKelvie National Forests; the Buffalo Gap, Oglala, and Fort Pierre National Grasslands; the Soldier Creek Wilderness; Pine Ridge National Recreation Area; and Charles E. Bessey Nursery.  The Forest is also the host Forest for the Pine Ridge Job Corps Center.  Some unique features on the Forest include:  the internationally known Hudson-Meng Bison Bonebed; the Bessey Tree Nursery which is the oldest federal tree nursery and listed on the National Register of Historic Places; the western hemisphere's largest hand planted forest; Black-footed Ferret Recovery Program; and Toadstool Geologic Park, one of the few areas in the world exposing fossil trackways of the Oligocene Epoch of 24-37 million years ago.  The Supervisor's Office is located in Chadron, Nebraska.  The Forest has a complexity of resource programs including range, wildlife, lands, minerals, developed and dispersed recreation, water, wilderness, timber, fire, fossils, & heritage resources.  More information regarding the Forest is available through the Internet at


The Fort Pierre and Pierre Communities

The Fort Pierre National Grassland is located in Fort Pierre, South Dakota, which is located just across the river from Pierre on the west side.  Fort Pierre has a population of approximately 2,400 and Pierre has a population of approximately 18,000.  Pierre is the State Capitol, as well as the county seat for Hughes County.  Located in the center of South Dakota, and on the shores of the Missouri River, Pierre is the business center for nearby surrounding areas.  Pierre offers a wide range of medical services including the region’s finest health care facility, the St. Mary’s Health Care Center.  Being the State Capitol and centrally located, Pierre serves as the convention and meeting headquarters for South Dakota’s public and private organizations.  Pierre has a YMCA and other exercise/fitness and toning centers, Boys and Girls Club, a movie theater, bowling alley, police department, sheriff’s department, volunteer fire department and emergency medical technicians, shopping mall, as well as several businesses, convenience stores, etc.  Pierre’s school system includes 4 elementary schools, 1 rural K-8 school, 1 middle school, 1 high school and a community university.  Fort Pierre also has a grade school and high school.  Pierre has over 32 places of worship representing major faiths and denominations.  Fort Pierre has a Catholic and a Congregational church.  Pierre has commercial air service, which provides 11 flights daily, as well as a daily newspaper and several radio stations.

Agriculture and tourism dominates South Dakota’s economy.  The economy of Pierre/Fort Pierre is based primarily on tourism, retail sales, farming, ranching, cattle feeding, tourism and recreation.  Major employers are city, county, state and federal government, medical, school system, financial institutions, agriculture and recreation.  The average/median home price is $140,000.  The average/median rent is $600/month.

Pierre/Fort Pierre offers unlimited and excellent outdoor activities including: hunting (sportsman’s paradise), bird watching, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, ice sailing, skating, hockey, horseback riding, camping, water related sports (all with easy access to the surrounding reservoirs with more shoreline than California) including boating, sailing, water-skiing, windsurfing, canoeing, scuba diving, and fishing (year-round sport), volleyball, tennis, golfing, walking/biking/hiking, softball and baseball.


More information regarding Fort Pierre/Pierre, SD is available through the Internet at www.pierre.organd www.fortpierre.comor through the Pierre Chamber of Commerce at 605-224-7361 and Fort Pierre Development at 605-223-7603.

Key Contacts

Public Affairs Officer
Cydney Janssen
(308) 432-0326 - Office

(#08) 432-0300 - Main Office