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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

United States National Grasslands are protected areas of the United States. National Grasslands are designated by the Secretary of Agriculture and are permanently held by the Department of Agriculture. National Grasslands are authorized by Title III of the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act. For administrative purposes, they are essentially identical to U.S. National Forests, except that grasslands are areas primarily consisting of prairie. Like National Forests, National Grasslands may be open for hunting, grazing, mineral extraction, recreation and other uses. Various National Grasslands are typically administered in conjunction with nearby National Forests. The three National Grasslands in North Dakota, together with one in northwestern South Dakota, are administered jointly as the Dakota Prairie Grasslands. All but three of the National Grasslands are on or at the edge of the Great Plains. The remaining three are in southeastern Idaho, northeastern California, and central Oregon. National Grasslands are generally much smaller than National Forests. Whereas a typical National Forest would be about 1,000,000 acres (4,000 km2), a typical Grassland would only be about 100,000 acres (400 km2). The largest National Grassland, the Little Missouri National Grassland in North Dakota, covers 1,033,271 acres (4,181 km2), which is approximately the median size of a National Forest. As of 30 September 2007, the total area of all 20 National Grasslands was 3,843,037 acres (15,552 km2). [1]

The catastrophic Dust Bowl of the 1930's led to the creation of the Soil Conservation Service in 1933. This and subsequent federal laws paved the way for establishing national grasslands.

A gripping account of the dust bowl can be found in Timothy Egan's "The Worst Hard Time," and the Dust Bowl entry here provides a good overview of that incredible human tragedy.


List of National Grasslands

List of Prairie Reserves

See also




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