The National Grasslands Visitor Center (NGVC) served 10,288 people in July 2021, setting a high mark for monthly visitation in at least the last two decades. That figure – an average of 331 per day – includes 7,022 visitors through the doors of the visitor center, with an additional 3,266 reached through outreach programs in Badlands National Park and the Wall After-School Program. Since the center opened for outdoor services on May 28, total visitation through August 21 stands at 20,387.
“Be it explaining sensitive dispersed camping practices in our visitor center, exploring the poignant history of grasslands ghost towns from Badlands overlooks, or creatively connecting local kids with nature through summer programs, our interpreters have engaged tens of thousands of people this summer with the many meanings to be found on our national grasslands,” said Visitor Center Director Travis Mason-Bushman.
“Unveiling new exhibits is always exciting, and we’re looking forward to more facility improvements in the coming year. But the roots of our work are our people, and through all the changes and challenges of this visitor season, one thing remained constant: our staff’s drive and desire to help visitors have a safe, enjoyable, and meaningful experience.”
The National Grasslands Visitor Center is the only visitor center and museum dedicated to telling the story of America’s 20 National Grasslands and the Midewin National Tall Grass Prairie. Located in Wall, South Dakota, the center fosters public understanding and enjoyment of the 3.8 million acres of public prairies managed by the Forest Service nationwide. The NGVC is operated by the Wall Ranger District of the Buffalo Gap National Grassland, part of the Nebraska National Forests and Grasslands.