Fort Pierre Ranger District

General Information

 Mallard (South)

The Fort Pierre National Grassland (FPNG) is comprised of approximately 116,000 acres of federal land located south of Fort Pierre, South Dakota, north of Interstate 90, and west of the Lower Brule Indian Reservation.  The topography ranges from flat to gently rolling hills with large drainages on the north and west boundaries containing relatively steep slopes and creeks that flow toward the Bad River and the Missouri River.  The Grassland has numerous intermittent drainages that have been dammed to create small to medium-sized ponds that provide water for wildlife and livestock.  Many of these ponds have become important for waterfowl habitat and popular fisheries. 

The FPNG is widely known for its mixed grass prairie vegetation that provides shelter to the Greater Prairie Chicken, the Sharptail Grouse, the Chinese Ring-neck Pheasant, and numerous migrating birds.  Other wildlife species that make their homes on the Grassland include: black-tail prairie dogs, badgers, coyotes, rattlesnakes, burrowing owls, raptors, jack rabbits, mule and whitetail deer, antelope, and various rodents.

 

Travel Management

In accordance with the federal travel policy, we implemented new travel rules and regulations in 2009.  All motorized vehicle travel is restricted to designated routes on a year-around basis.  Our office has free copies of the FPNG Motor Vehicle Use Map available to show road locations and seasonal designations.   

View our new MVUM now!

 


 
Spring/Summer Climate                                

 

Prairie Rain Storm

During the spring and summer months, the Fort Pierre National Grassland comes to life with wildflowers, waving grasses, and an abundance of wildlife in all shapes and sizes.  The Grassland is a great place to birdwatch, fish, desperse camp, and just enjoy the Great Plains. 

Things to be mindful of while recreating on our Grassland are: insects, snakes, and the weather.  The tall grass provides the perfect habitat for ticks, chiggers, and mosquitoes so be sure to have that insect repellant handy!  Various speices of snakes can be found across the prairie but our prairie dog towns are famous for rattlesnake dens so one must pay extra close attention while in those areas. 

Weather on the plains is ever changing; the temperatures can range from cool mornings to very hot afternoons with high winds.  Be sure to have sunscreen and plenty of water available.The Great Plains are also infamous for severe weather capable of producing heavy rains, hail, and tornadoes.  Visitors  will want to pay close attention to weather forecasts before and durning recreating on the Fort Pierre National Grassland. Local FM radio stations are KGFX 92.7, KPLO 94.5, KLXS 95.3, and KPGN 104.7.  Local AM radio stations are KGFX 1060 and KCCR 1240. 

 

Spring/Summer Recreation

 FPNG_Rattlesnake

 Fishing - Fishing is probably the most favored pastime on the FPNG where a wide array of fishing opportunities can be found.  Numerous ponds have designated roads that lead up to the water's edge and are open from December 1 through August 31, while others have year-round designated roads that lead to or pass by other ponds.  The FPNG does have two undeveloped campgrounds that have large dams for fishing: Richland Dam and Sheriff Dam.   If a fisherman wants more of a secluded experience, we have those too and they are just a hike away! 

 

Prairie DogPrairie Dog Shooting - Shooting prairie dogs in another favored pastime on the FPNG and draws visitors from all corners of the United States.  With over 2,000 acres of prairie dog towns there are towns for everyone.  Most towns are located on designated seasonal roads that are open from June 15 through August 31 every year and some towns require a short hike to reach them.  Prairie dog shooters are reminded to watch for poisonous rattlesnakes, not to shoot towards livestock and other hunters, to pick up shell casings and garbage, and to close all gates.

 

FPNG_BirdWatching

Bird Watching - The Fort Pierre National Grassland is home to numerous bird species and during mirgration times, it is a favored stop over.  Bird enthusiasts can watch various raptors, shorebirds, and water fowl nearly every month of the year all over the grassland.  Stop in the Ft. Pierre office for a free bird watching booklet!





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