THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA
The state flag of South Dakota features the great seal on a blazing sun in the center against a field of sky blue. The words South Dakota are above the seal and the state nickname appears below (The Mount Rushmore State). South Dakota flags designed for indoor and display use have a golden fringe on three sides.
The symbols on the great seal of South Dakota represent the state's commerce, industry, and natural resources. Under God the People Rule (South Dakota's state motto) appears at the top of the inner circle, which has a background of sky and hills. In the foreground, a steam ship navigates a river running through agricultural and industrial land. The outer circle of the seal bears the words State of South Dakota, and Great Seal 1889 (the year South Dakota became a state).
The pasque flower (or pasqueflower) was designated the official state flower of South Dakota in 1903. Also called the May Day flower, prairie crocus, wind flower, Easter flower and meadow anemone, the pasque is one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring (often before the late winter snows have thawed). Pasque is a tallgrass prairie flower and grows wild throughout South Dakota
RING NECKED PHEASANT
South Dakota designated the Chinese ring-necked pheasant as state bird in 1943. A ring-necked pheasant is also featured on the U.S. Mint's South Dakota bicentennial commemorative quarter.
BLACK HILLS WHITE SPRUCE
South Dakota designated the Black Hills white spruce as the official state tree in 1947. The beautiful short-needled white spruce tree is one of the dominant trees of the vast boreal forest that reaches from the northeastern United States across Canada to Alaska.
THINGS TO DO
The Badlands Wall, much of which is preserved within the boundaries of Badlands National Park, may not conform to everyone's idea of beauty, but nobody can deny its theatricality. It's been compared to an enormous stage set—colorful, dramatic, and not quite real. Water, the main player on this stage, has been carving away at the cliffs for the past half million years or so, and it carves away an entire inch (three centimeters) or more in some places each year. But there have been other players, too. Beasts with names like titanothere and archaeotherium once roamed here; their fossilized bones can be found by the hundreds. And today the Badlands Wall serves as a backdrop for bison, pronghorn, and bighorn sheep, as well as the million human visitors who pass through the park every year.
Custer State Park is famous for its bison herds, other wildlife, scenic drives, historic sites, visitor centers, fishing lakes, resorts, campgrounds and interpretive programs. In fact, it was named as one of the world's top ten wildlife destinations for the array of wildlife within the park's borders and for the unbelievable access visitors have to them. One of the nation’s largest state parks, just 15 miles from the city of Custer, South Dakota’s premier State Park comprises 71,000 acres. Custer State Park has been home to diverse cultural heritages for thousands of years and has provided an array of scenic beauty and outdoor recreation for visitors since the early 1900s.
The southeastern face of Mount Rushmore in South Dakota’s Black Hills National Forest is the site of four gigantic carved sculptures depicting the faces of U.S. Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. Led by the sculptor Gutzon Borglum, work on the project began in 1927 and was finally completed in 1941. Over that time period, some 400 workers erected the sculpture under dangerous conditions, removing a total of 450,000 tons of rock in order to create the enormous carved heads, each of which reached a height of 60 feet (18 meters). In sculptor Gutzon Borglum’s original design, the four presidents were meant to be represented from the waist up, but insufficient funding brought the carving to a halt after completion of their faces. Known as the “Shrine of Democracy,” Mount Rushmore welcomes upwards of 2 million visitors every year, and is one of America’s most popular tourist attractions.