Great River Trail Prairies, SNA #357 (97/674)

Great River Trail Prairies consists of two sand prairie parcels located approximately 7 miles apart in La Crosse and Trempealeau Counties.  The Trempealeau County unit is adjacent to Perot State Park and can be accessed via Prairie Road.  The La Crosse County unit is best reached from a canoe landing parking area at the end of Lytle Road.

One of 6 SNA’s located along State Trails, Great River Trail Prairies was in similar shape to the others I would visit later on.  Generally speaking, I would say that these sites are not in the best shape.  They tend to be smaller and I am sure, difficult, if not impossible, to manage by prescribed burn.  Being bound by shrubbery or ag fields on 3 sides and a invasive expressway, er state trail, on the fourth, means these types of sites are under constant attack.  In most cases, these state trail were originally railroad lines which is why they tend to include long, straight stretches.  Train-sparked fires and/or other railroad activities has led to these remnants prairies surviving.  I visited both parcels of this SNA on the same mid-May day.  The Trempealeau County unit was in better shape I though, with abundant wild lupine in bloom.  The La Crosse County unit is larger but contains more non-prairie land around the prairie.  This parcel tended to be dense with invasives including garlic mustard, dame’s rocket, and leafy spurge.  Hopefully, the DNR is able to rein in these damaging species.

More of my photos (and full-res) from Great River Trail Prairies can be viewed here.

Additional Information

SNA # 357
County La Crosse, Trempealeau
Natural Communities / Geology
Dry Prairie, Sand Prairie, Prairie
Size (Acres) 33
Parking Parking Area (paved), Roadside
Trails Yes
Easy to Find No
Best Seen By Foot
Marked Boundaries No
Ownership Wisconsin DNR
Located Within Great River State Trail
Dates Visited 5.16.10

La Crosse-Trempealeau
La Crosse & Trempealeau Counties
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