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Badlands National Park Plants

Plants Badlands National Park is over 50% mixed grass prairie. Over 60 types of grass thrive here, as well as dozens of flowering plants. Although sparse, a few trees and shrubs successfully eke out an existence with less than 16 inches of precipitation each year. As you drive the Loop Road, there are some specific plants that may draw your eye, depending on the time of year.

It is well known that westward expansion greatly changed life for the American Indians already calling this land home. It is less familiar to hear that the coming of Euro-Americans drastically changed the plant communities native to the Great Plains. By bringing ornamental plants for beauty or accidentally carrying seeds in the cuffs of pants or through the manure of their horses and cattle, the settlers brought dozens of new plants to the prairie that rapidly threatened to force out the native plants. At Badlands National Park, we are actively trying to restore this mixed grass prairie to close to its original state. Exhibits, programs, and publications will further explain the actions underway to combat non-native plants. You may find some of these exotic intruders beautiful. Beauty is just one value to be placed on an ecosystem.

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Maine ocean islands provide the only nesting sites for Atlantic puffins in the United States. Eastern Egg Rock in the midcoast region, Seal Island and Matinicus Rock at the mouth of Penobscot Bay, and Machias Seal Island and Petit Manan Island off the downeast coast provide habitat for more than 4,000 puffins each summer.