The Badlands National Park Fossil Preparation Lab has been in operation since June 2012. In addition to preparing fossils, the lab serves as a paleontological education center where visitors can meet scientists and discuss their fossil finds. On average the lab receives about 50,000 visitors per year.
Despite its popularity, the park struggles each year to keep its lab open to the public due to a lack of funding coupled with its borrowed, shared location. Despite its humble appearance, the co-purposed lab and education center is filled with visitors every day at peak season.
Considering Badlands is the one of the richest fossil areas in the United States, the actual preservation of fossils and the opportunity to enrich the visitor experience while conveying the importance of what can learned from these paleontological finds, this is a problem that needs attention. Working with our partner, Badlands Natural History Association, our 4 the Parks donations are going to work to help improve access to the lab and augment its resources.