May 032013
 
bison

In addition to our National Parks, our country is filled with other treasures. Amongst them are our National Game Preserves. Theodore Roosevelt created 55 different areas strictly intendedto preserve our nation’s wildlife. April 27 marks the 109th anniversary of Sullys Hill, becoming a National Game Preserve. Named after General Alfred Sully, a West Point Graduate and Brevet Brigadier General of the United States Army, Sullys Hill can be found in the glacial moraine hills of North Dakota along the shore of Devil’s Lake. It contains a combination of prairie, woodland, and lake ecosystems. The preserve is more than 1500 acres and is filled with Prairie Dogs, white-tailed deer, and American Bison. A bison is featured in the attached image. Six bison were reintroduced into the area in 1918 from the Portland, Oregon Zoo. Elk were transferred from Yellowstone National Park. Sully Hills is one of a handful of havens specifically intended to be the home of elk and bison. Prairie dogs were reintroduced in 1975. I remember my then third grade son learned about the Prairie Dog “towns” in North Dakota. They formed a complex borough system and worked together to avoid common threats. More than 250 different species of birds that normally found on the prairie can be observed in Sullys Hill. Although not reintroduced to the area, Sullys Hill is also home to beavers, woodchucks, rabbits, muskrats, squirrels, minks, weasels, skunks, raccoons, and foxes. 

Visitors can observe the wildlife and ecosystems in the preserve by driving along a four mile route or hiking along Sweetwater Lake. Sullys Hill has visitor center which offers a variety of educational opportunities for both adults and children. 

Sullys Hill is currently maintained by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The website for Sullys Hill is:http://www.fws.gov/sullyshill/

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