Created - by retreating glaciers
Sustained - by Native Americans
Unique - to the Northwest
Dependent - on us for their conservation
South Puget Sound's prairies and oak woodlands lie hidden among the region's forests, farms and homes. Here, wide-open skies arch over rolling expanses of bunchgrasses, wildflowers, and gnarled oaks. Butterflies found in few other places in the world spangle the sun-washed grasslands, and blue birds and meadow larks serenade the quiet visitor.
One of the rarest ecosystems in the country, these open savannas were created by retreating glaciers 15,000 years ago, which left behind gravelly soils that dried out quickly during summer droughts. Native Americans sustained these grassy plans for thousands of years using fire to keep the encroaching forests at bay so that tribes could harvest the prairie's bounty of wildflowers and bulbs. Today conservationists maintain our prairies through active management and restoration.
Rare Species – From butterflies to mammals the South Puget Sound Prairies are home to a suite of rare and endangered species.
Fire – Prescribed fire is a fundamental ecological process that maintains our prairies.
Historic Prairie Landscape – Historically expansive, the prairie is now limited and threatened. The loss of prairie habitat is marked by an increase in endangered and threatened species.
Seasons of the Prairie – Seasonal changes on the prairie offer the viewer an awesome display of natural beauty and an experience of complete tranquility.