A Walk on the Wild-side – Custer, SD
Oh, give me a home
Where the buffalo roam….
“Home on the Range” was a poem first published in 1873 that eventually became the State song of Kansas. Knowing nothing to that effect before this post, however, your hapless author found herself merrily humming the tune as we were travelling the Wildlife Loop in Custer Park a few days back. It just seemed to fit. The open hills, the wild prarie-land, and herds of buffalo roaming the plains. And just to top it off a few white-tailed deer, a lone Pronghorn, a couple of asses (the wild burro kind, not of the backside genus), prarie-dogs and mule deer. Yes, it’s truly a land where the wildlife roam.
Custer State Park encompasses ~71,000 acres of pine forest, plains and granite hills in West South Dakota, and it’s a stunning spot. There’s 1,500 buffalo that call it home and it’s quite the sight to see these shaggy 2,000 lb creatures walking the plains. They’re more formally known as North American Bison and were nearly extinct by the 1890’s. The local indians used all parts of the buffalo, and the white man followed suit. Only in the past 10-15 years have their numbers revived, and the buffalo are now a booming industry. But, there’s nothing quite like seeing the animal in the wild, and for that I’ll happily drive round singing my tune….