Public invited to free guided prairie hike near Hayfield on Aug. 23

(Released August 14, 2014)

The public is invited to a free guided prairie hike at the Iron Horse Prairie Scientific and Natural Area (SNA) near Hayfield on Saturday, Aug. 23, at 10:30 a.m.

The two-hour hike will explore one of the few remaining mesic tallgrass prairie remnants in eastern Minnesota. This 35-acre prairie is located between two railroad spurs that inadvertently protected the piece from being farmed.

This prairie offers a high level of species diversity with the late summer showcasing big bluestem, Indian grass, prairie cordgrass, and bluejoint, along with forbs such as wild quinine, blazing stars and sunflowers. Bring your camera, field guide, sketch book and binoculars to capture the many species that make up this tallgrass prairie.

The hike will be an easy walk across 1.5 to 2 miles of uneven terrain, but there are no maintained trails at the SNA. Visitors should wear clothing and footwear appropriate for the terrain and weather. Bring a hat, sunscreen and water. There are no restrooms or drinking water on the site.

From Hayfield, drive 1 mile south on State Highway 56. Turn east on 740th Street and travel one-half mile. Park in the lot on the south side, at the old railroad grade. The hike will begin there.

Funding for this project was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).

For more information, contact Veronika Phillips at 952-454-8428 or via email. Click here for more information on Iron Horse Prairie SNA.