Touch the Sky Prairie

Touch the Sky Prairie in western Minnesota 

As I was driving out of Blue Mounds State Park, I noticed a sign that said "Touch the Sky Prairie" with an arrow. I was in a hurry because I was meeting my cousin in Worthington and had several other parks to hike that day, but I was on a road trip. The whole point of road trips is to explore and discover. So naturally, the only possible thing for me to do in this situation was to follow the signs. I passed no towns and drove down back gravel roads in the middle of nowhere until I came upon the Fish and Wildlife sign proclaiming Touch the Sky Prairie.

Prairie as far as the eye can see at Touch the Sky Prairie 

Touch the Sky Prairie is part of the Northern Tallgrass Prairie National Wildlife Refuge, which consists of broken up patches of preserved prairie throughout Minnesota and Iowa. Now a critically endangered ecosystem, tallgrass prairies once covered nearly a third of the great plains. Touch the Sky is one of the last remaining remnants of native prairie left in the state (although there is much more restored prairie). It gives you a sense of the what the prairie would have been like when settlers first broke ground, but at only 800 acres, it simply cannot give a true sense of the expanse of the original prairie.

Jim Brandenburg did a photo project with Touch the Sky Prairie that is worth checking out. His pictures are better than mine.

Touch the Sky Prairie National Wildlife Refuge near Luverne, MN. 

Touch the Sky Prairie National Wildlife Refuge near Luverne, MN.