Badlands National Park consists of nearly 243,000 acres of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles and spires blended with the largest, protected mixed grass prairie in the United States. Established as Badlands National Monument in 1939, the area was redesignated as a "National Park" in 1978. Over 11,000 years of human history pale to the ages old Paleontological resources. Badlands National Park contains the world's richest Oligocene epoch fossil beds, dating 23 to 35 million years old.
Fossils are being poached from Badlands National Park. These paleontological resources are nonrenewable and their loss inhibits further understanding of the ancient environment.