Prairie State Park, Missouri

Prairie State Park

Just about 18 miles west of Lamar is a conservation area devoted to maintaining what little remains of Missouri prairies. Known as Prairie State Park, this spot is dedicated to preserving the state’s original landscape while also educating the public about the flora and fauna
of prairies.

You may be familiar with the term ‘prairie’ thanks to the popular autobiographical book series “Little House on the Prairie” by Laura Ingalls Wilder, who grew up in Missouri. Prairieland is a unique landscape that the state is known for, containing many plants, animals, and wide-open spaces. It is no wonder that many pioneers settled in prairies, as there was much land to farm and build upon. Unfortunately, this is also why so few prairies are left, as farming destroys the natural ecosystem.

About one third of the state used to be covered in prairie land, but now only one percent is left. Statistics estimate that Missouri used to have nearly 13 million acres of what’s known as tallgrass prairie, though only about 65,000 acres are still around to this day. There are different varieties within the species of tallgrass prairie, four of which are abundant in Prairie State Park. These include East Drywood Creek, Regal, Hunkah and Tzi-sho.

In addition to tallgrass prairie, the state park also boasts being a wildlife reserve for some endangered animals. This includes the magnificent bison, or buffalo, who used to roam the Midwest landscape in droves. However, as pioneers settled further westward and were encouraged to hunt buffalo, the population decreased exponentially. Now, thanks to sanctuaries like Prairie State Park, the species has been steadily increasing again. You can see the herds around the park especially in summertime, when the calves are born.

It is important to remember just how beautiful natural landscapes are, and how impactful their existence is on the environment. In Prairie State Park, over 200 species of animals and 500 species of plants thrive, including many that are considered rare or endangered. Surveying the eye-opening landscape of this park is a connection to Missouri’s roots, acting as a time capsule to transport you back over 200 years.



128 NW 150th Ln, Mindenmines, MO 64769 ~ About 18 miles west of Lamar, MO, near the Missouri and Kansas borderline