Outdoor Safety & Ethics

As a visitor to the Dakota Prairie National Grasslands, you are asked to follow certain rules designed to protect the natural environment, to ensure the health and safety of visitors, and to promote a pleasant and rewarding outdoor recreation experience for all visitors. Regional Foresters and Forest Supervisors may issue orders that will close or restrict the use of certain areas if the need arises.  If you have any questions or need help, please contact the nearest Forest Service Office.

Please remember to be careful! You are primarily responsible for your own safety. Be alert for natural hazards and dangers.

On the Little Missouri, Grand, and Cedar River National Grasslands, rattlesnakes are part of the local environment. Be alert and watch your step.

Over much of the Grassland, livestock grazing is used to manage the grassland ecosystem.  Please do not disturb grazing livestock and leave gates as you found them. Most grazing permits allow grazing on the Grasslands by domestic cattle or sheep; however, there are some private bison herds on neighboring land. Please remember that bison can be dangerous. 

Sanitation: Throw all garbage and litter in containers provided for this purpose, or take it with you.  Wash food and personal items away from drinking water supplies. Use faucets only for drawing water. Prevent pollution - keep garbage, litter, and foreign substances out of lakes, streams, and other water. Use toilets properly. Do not throw garbage, litter, fish cleanings, or other foreign substances in toilets and plumbing fixtures.

Operation of Vehicles: Obey all traffic signs. State traffic laws apply to National Grasslands unless otherwise specified. License tags, insurance and DUI violations are strictly enforced. When operating vehicles of any kind, do not damage the land or vegetation or disturb the wildlife. Avoid riding or driving on unpaved roads or trails when they are wet or muddy. Within campgrounds and other recreation sites, use cars, motorbikes, motorcycles, or other motor vehicles only for entering or leaving, unless areas or trails are specifically marked for them. A maximum of two (2) vehicles per campsite is allowed. Do not block, restrict, or interfere with the use of roads or trails, especially gated roads. Obey area and trail restrictions on use of trail bikes and other off-the-road vehicles.

PropertyDo not carve, chop, cut, or damage any live trees. Leave natural areas the way you find them. American Indian sites, old cabins, and other structures, along with objects and artifacts associated with them, have historic or archeological value. Do not damage or remove any such historic or archeological resource or other property of the United States.

Fish and Wildlife: State law applies to activities within the National Grasslands. Refer to North Dakota Game and Fish and South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks for more information.

Campfires: Obey restrictions on fires. Fires may be limited or prohibited at certain times. Within campgrounds and other recreation sites, build fires only in fire rings, stoves, grills, or fireplaces provided for that purpose.
Be sure your fire is completely extinguished before leaving. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR KEEPING FIRES UNDER CONTROL.

Camping: Campgrounds and other recreation sites can be used only for recreation purposes. Permanent use or use as a principal residence without authorization is not allowed. In campgrounds, camp only in those places specifically marked or provided. At least one person must occupy a camping area during the first night after camping equipment has been set up, unless permission has otherwise has been granted by the District Ranger.
Do not leave camping equipment unattended for more than 24 hours without permission from a District Ranger. The Federal Government is not responsible any loss or damage to personal property.

Fee Areas: You must pay a fee to use certain developed sites and facilities. Such areas are clearly signed or posted as requiring a fee. Where fees are required, you must pay them before using the site, facility, equipment, or service furnished.

Public Behavior: No fighting or boisterous behavior. Keep noise at a reasonable level. Please be considerate of fellow visitors. Threatening, intimidating, or interfering with any forest employee is a federal offense.

Pets and Animals: Pets must be always restrained or on a leash while in developed recreation sites. Pets (except guide dogs) are not allowed in swimming areas. Saddle or pack animals are allowed in recreation sites only where authorized by posted instructions. Hitching, tethering or hobbling a horse that causes damage to live trees, soil, or water is prohibited.

Business Activities: Permits are required for any commercial activity.

Audio Devices: Operate any audio device, such as a radio or musical instrument, so that it does not disturb other visitors. A permit is required for operating a public address system in or near a campsite, developed recreation site, or over a body of water.