Midway Railroad Prairie, SNA #18 (99/674)

Midway Railroad Prairie is, as its name implies, a prairie along a former railroad right-of-way.  What makes this site different is that it encompasses substantially more land away from the trail compared to most other former railroad prairies which tend to be thin strips of land.  The Great River State Trail runs along the site’s western boundary, beyond which, is a portion of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge.  The US Fish & Wildlife Service owns the refuge, as well as this SNA.  If you are not coming from the trail, parking here is on the street (CTH ZM).

Despite featuring a “wider” prairie than most other railroad prairies, Midway is a rather small site (5 acres), though it certainly packs a punch.  Puccoons were the flower-du-jour during my mid-May visit.  Other abundant species included prairie blue-eyed grass and pussytoes.  Of lesser number, but more rewarding to see, were prairie violets and inland New Jersey tea.  This is an easy site to explore if you don’t mind dealing with the slope.  The slope does have it benefits, however, in particular the great views of the wildlife refuge to the west.  Informational signs are found near the southwest corner, along the trail.  One odd thing about this site was the abundance of signs.  It was difficult to get a decent landscape shot without some sort of signage in the way.  Oh well, it could certainly be worse.

More of my photos (and full-res) from Midway Railroad Prairie can be viewed here.

Additional Information

SNA # 18
County La Crosse
Natural Communities / Geology
Dry Prairie, Sand Prairie, Prairie
Size (Acres)  5
Parking City Street
Trails Yes
Easy to Find Yes
Best Seen By Foot
Marked Boundaries Yes
Ownership US Fish & Wildlife Service; More info: Wisconsin DNR
Located Within Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge
Dates Visited 5.16.10

La Crosse
La Crosse County
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