The Nature Conservancy currently owns and manages more than 21,000 acres in South Dakota. Most of our land is open to the public for outdoor recreation.
We do not maintain trails or facilities at most our preserves nor do we have staff on duty. Please prepare for your visit and take proper precautions by reviewing our Preserve Visitation Guidelines.
Places We Protect
Encompassing 142,000 acres, Conata Basin is one of North America’s most intact remaining grasslands. The Basin, located south of Badlands National Park in southwestern South Dakota, is home to the largest population of black-footed ferrets in the world.
The grasslands of the Great Plains once covered one fifth of the North American Continent. At 7,800 acres, Ordway Prairie represents a fraction of what remains after the west was settled.
The 4,383-acre Whitney Preserve is located in the southern Black Hills southwest of Hot Springs, South Dakota.
Other Places We Protect in South Dakota:
62 acres of hilly prairie with a prominent wetlands in northern Deuel County.
30 acres of wet prairie in Brookings County, with big bluestem, Indian grass and cordgrass, 30 other grass species and many showy wild flowers among 80 species of forbs. It also features a beaver dam.
Cheyenne River Canyons
Private ranchland is key to protecting this diverse canyon, river and prairie system in the Black Hills, where terrain of the West meets forest of the East. It is buffered by 12,700 acres of conservation easements and 16,000 acres of Black Hills National Forest.
The fen in Deuel County is part of an expansive 18,000-acre mosaic of tallgrass prairie, pothole wetlands, perennial creeks and fen communities.
Pronounced: maa ko chay washta
English: beautiful earth
40 acres of big bluestem prairie, wild flowers and bird life in Minnehaha County.
210 acres in the Crystal Springs complex in Deuel County, a mixture of tallgrass prairie and pothole habitat in the Prairie Coteau region.
200 acres of hilly pothole country in Moody County sheltering 200 grass and forb species; abundant plant growth, variety of wild flowers, bird and animal life.
22 acres of hillside prairie in Clay County