An Identification of Prairie in National Park Units in the Great Plains
NPS Occasional Paper No. 7
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"....much more than land covered with grass. It is a slowly evolved, highly complex organic entity, centuries old. It approaches the eternal...."

"Each grass-covered hillside is a page on which is written the history of the past, conditions of the present, and predictions of the future. Some see without understanding; but let us look closely and understandingly, and act wisely."

Dr. J. E. Weaver
North American Prairie (1954)

Beginning in summer 1982, the Midwest, Southwest, and Rocky Mountain Regions of the National Park Service initiated a survey of prairie in national parks in the Great Plains. The purposes of the survey were to identify parks with prairie; to determine type, acreage, and condition of the prairies; and to identify and consolidate information on prairie management into references and guidelines useful to park resource managers. For the purposes of this survey, the Great Plains is broadly defined as the area of grassland extending from the Canadian to the Mexican borders and from the foothills of the Rocky Mountains to western Indiana. Survey results show that 32 parks within this area have prairie totalling about 117,000 ha. Approximately 1,200 ha of tallgrass, 94,000 ha of mixed grass, and 810 ha of shortgrass prairie are included. Ten of the 32 parks have restored prairie. For each of the 32 parks surveyed, additional information has been collected on current vegetation, past management, and adjacent land use. An annotated bibliography of research conduct in each park also has been assembled.

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Last Updated: 25-Jul-2008