Wild thing

Sing with me…

“Oh give me a home,where the buffalo roam, and the deer and the antelope play.”

And the mountain goats. And the wild burro. And the elk.

Good grief, there is a lot of wildlife in Custer State Park! We made three trips through Wildlife Loop Road, an 18-mile paved route through classic western South Dakota landscape. And we looped through some of the gravel roads, as well. Each time there was a parade of wildlife. All we had to do was park the van and watch it walk by.

The young ones played while the yearling males sparred. Once we turned off our engine you could hear them munching grass, grunting, and calling for their mamas.

Custer State Park is home to a herd of more than 1,300 buffalo and we saw many of them, a hundred at a time.

On the state park website it says “The area that encompasses Custer State Park was originally established as a Game Preserve back in 1913. Then-Governor Peter Norbeck’s dream was to establish a large acreage within the Black Hills that would sustain the re-introduction of many of the wildlife species that had been eliminated by early gold seekers.”

So, I guess people had eaten them all during the gold rush. Human hordes can wreak some serious devastation on the land and its inhabitants (human and otherwise). But there are always a few visionaries who chart a different path.

I saw the name Norbeck posted here and there in the Black Hills but didn’t know why until just now. Thank you, Peter Norbeck. Your decisions have reached out over 100 years and brought my family joy.

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