THE TALLGRASS PRAIRE PRESERVE


Some photos by Jonathan Lein

I’m a prairie girl, I love the prairie; I feel the emotion of the prairies from the top of my head to the soles of my feet. And I am a writer who has written stories set on the prairies. I’ve been waiting to see this Prairie Preserve since my son and his wife moved to Oklahama. Oh I’d love to walk the trails. Not this time…next time.

This preserve in northeastern Oklahoma is the largest unplowed protected tract that remains of the tall grass prairie (39,650 acres), once 142 million acres stretching from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. To me this area is a national treasure. These are the vistas that greeted the first settlers in many states, including my great grandparents. I love to study the grasses and wildflowers of the area. On a cool November day, the place is not colorful but still calming and quiet. And the wide open vistas soothe my heart and soul.

At the visitor’s center I saw the big bluestem, switchgrass, little bluestem and Indian grass that are so prevalent on the prairies of the past and this preserve today. Burning helps to control invasive species.

On this day we saw the buffalo up close. They are impressive beasts.

What did my granddaughter like best about her trip to Pawhuska, Oklahoma? Not the kitchen toys at the Merc, though they were a hit. The buffalo were her favorite of the day.

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