Dean M. Chriss
Badlands Needles

Needles, Badlands National Park

(Click image to enlarge)

I came upon these strikingly sharp needle formations on a stormy day in Badlands National Park. Breaks in the fast moving cloud cover would occasionally illuminate parts of the scene, and I waited nearly an hour for the sharpest spires in the top center to be briefly illuminated.

Badlands National park protects 242,756 acres (98240 Ha) of sharply eroded buttes and pinnacles, along with the largest undisturbed mixed grass prairie in the United States. Part of this area is a 64,144 acre (25958 Ha) designated wilderness area. This wilderness is one site where black-footed ferrets, one of the most endangered mammals in the world, was reintroduced. The U.S. National Park Service manages the park, with the South Unit being co-managed with the Oglala Lakota tribe.