Gage County, located near the southeastern corner of Nebraska, sits in the center of the temperate grassland region of North America, at the western edge of the tallgrass prairie region. This area, characterized by rolling hills, thick soil, and periods of abundant rainfall, was once covered by a sea of grass up to ten feet high. Remnants of eastern deciduous forest are found along the valleys of the Missouri River and its tributaries, while farther west, shorter grasses dominate the more arid landscape.
The 100 acres of tallgrass prairie and 60 acres of riparian woodland at Homestead National Monument of America are similar to the environment that Daniel Freeman encountered when he first staked his claim. The park’s prairie, restored in 1939, is the second oldest restoration effort in the United States. This restoration has brought back much of the prairie’s original diversity, with 116 species of plants present on the Monument. Also notable is the rare, mesic bur oak forest.
Plant Community Monitoring Trend Report, Homestead National Monument of America. By: James K, Debacker M., 2007.
Vegetation Survey and Management Recommendations for Homestead National Monument of America, NE. By Sutton R and Others, 1984.
Did You Know?
To "Prove up" a homestead, the owner was required to make improvements including building a home, breaking the soil, and planting a crop for 5 years.