National Grasslands Week includes photo contest | TSLN.com

National Grasslands Week includes photo contest

Wall, SD – National Grasslands Week will be celebrated June 19-25 across the nation to spotlight the beauty and historical importance of the 20 National Grasslands in 12 western states, covering four million acres and managed by the USDA Forest Service.

Historically, the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act of 1937 authorized the federal government to acquire lands ravaged by the Dust Bowl. A good portion of this land forms our National Grasslands today. The National Grasslands are a proven example of successful restoration programs that feature rich habitats, abundant wildlife, grasses, and wildflowers. The unique grasslands contribute millions to local rural economies, and offer tremendous recreation and education opportunities for more than a million visitors each year.

To commemorate the celebration, the National Grassland Visitor Center in Wall, SD is offering free evening programs that highlight some of the features of the grasslands. The programs will be held at 3 p.m., 5 p.m., and 7 p.m. every day of the week. Patio talks will be given at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on the living landscape and important wildlife. In addition to the 25 minute National Grasslands film, two other films will be shown at the Visitor Center: "Surviving the Dust Bowl" and "Facing the Storm: Story of the American Bison." Everyone is invited to come and celebrate the creation of the National Grasslands.

"The story of the National Grasslands is one of outstanding conservation. The Grasslands were formed from dust and hardship, but now hold treasures of stunning natural landscapes, rich wildlife, recreation, sporting opportunities, and productive land for livestock" says Assistant Center Director Luke Hittner.

Park Ranger Kathleen Hanson adds, "Many folks aren't even aware that National Grasslands exist. It's our hope people will take this opportunity to come out, tour the National Grassland Visitor Center, attend a program, and discover what's in their own backyard."

Local Forest Service offices also offer a variety of forest and grassland maps and interpretive sale items along with 'America The Beautiful' – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands passes. Including, the Annual Pass, Senior Pass (age 62 or older), Access Pass (permanent disability), 4th Grade Pass (student) and Military Pass (active duty). Please contact your local Forest Service office for more information on these offerings.

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For more information, contact the National Grasslands Visitor Center at 605-279-2125 or visit us on the web at http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/nebraska. The Visitor Center is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day of the week. F

–US Forest Service

The Fort Pierre National Grassland in Fort Pierre is sponsoring a photo contest for the best photos taken in 2016 on the Fort Pierre NG. Digital images will be entered into one of two photographer divisions: adult or youth (17 years old or younger). Prizes will be awarded to winners in both divisions for each of the following categories: landscape, plants and animals, and recreation. Submittals must include the photographer’s name, phone number, and division (adult or youth) as well as category. Submissions should be emailed to cerickson@fs.fed.us by July 3, 2016. Submitted photos may be used by the USDA Forest Service for conservation education efforts.