Graphic drawing of two prairie dogs at sunset
Prairie artwork produced by Dennis Caldwell for the National Park Service.

Characterized by grasses and a near complete absence of trees and large shrubs, prairies provide habitat for a diverse array of critters including bison, antelope, prairie dogs, burrowing owls, spadefoot toads and dung beetles. Historically North America’s most extensive biome, much of this ecosystem has been altered, elevating the importance of remaining prairie and the collaborative efforts to connect, conserve and restore these subtle, yet grand landscapes.

From shortgrass to tallgrass, there are national natural landmarks designated for their outstanding illustration of the different types of prairies found across the country. Some of these include:

Harrell Prairie Hill, MS
May Prairie, TN
Willamette Floodplain, OR
Hayden Prairie, IA
Markham Prairie, IL
Hoosier Prairie, IN
Golden Prairie, MO
Valentine National Wildlife Refuge, NE
Dixon Vernal Pools, CA
Bueyeros Shortgrass Plains, NM
Big Basin Preserve, KS
Buffalo Slough, SD

Last updated: January 28, 2022


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