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South Dakota

South Dakota: Coyote State

JOINED UNION: November 2, 1889
STATE BIRD: Ring-necked Pheasant
STATE FLOWER: Pasqueflower
MEANING OF STATE NAME: Dakota is a Sioux Indian word for "friend"
1992 POPULATION: 711,154
LAND AREA: 75,898 square miles
ECONOMY: Honey, oats, gold mining
HISTORY: Indian fortresses have been found here dating to 1250 A.D. and South Dakota was home to Sioux Indians when French explorers arrived in 1743. Fort Pierre became the state's first permanent settlement in 1817. The discovery of gold in 1874 on the Sioux Reservation in the Black Hills brought people to the area. Fighting between newly arrived whites and native Sioux followed, which ended in the bloody massacre of Indians by U.S. troops at Wounded Knee in 1890. Discoveries of dinosaur fossils in the state's Badlands have excited scientists and drawn tourists; Mount Rushmore is another big tourist attraction. South Dakota is known as both the Coyote State and Mount Rushmore State.

People's Parks Of America August 25, 1916


Created in 1916, the National Park Service is a division of the Department of the Interior. Today, the National Park System includes 357 sites, covering more than 80 million acres; sites as diverse as Alaska's huge Gates of the Arctic park and South Dakota's Mount Rushmore.

The purpose of the Park Service is to preserve natural scenery, wildlife, and historic places, so future generations can enjoy them. This is a huge undertaking as the sites to be preserved are in all 50 states, as well as American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan, and the Virgin Islands.

The first national park was Yellowstone, in Wyoming, established in 1872. Among the most recent national historic site is Manzanar, established in 1992 along the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Southern California.

A vote by Congress is needed to make a new national park, but the President alone can make a national monument of a site already on federal land.

In the National Park Service's protection are the 50 national parks, which cover large and different areas of land; national monuments, which preserve one special place; national scenic trails, like the Appalachian Trail, which usually cover long distances, and national memorials, such as the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.

There is usually a small fee to visit a National Park Service site.

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