Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR

Touch the Sky Prairie Unit

               
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Area and County

Rock County

 

 

 


Size

927 acres

Printable map
 
Maps

Trail Map (Brandenburg Prairie Foundation)

Printable Maps with GPS coordinates

Complete

North Section

Central Section

South Section

 
Parking

North Parking
N43 44.835, W96 16.041

Southeast Parking
N43 43.986, W96 16.706

Southwest Parking
N43 43.962, W96 17.233

 
Hiking Trails

There are mowed trails throughout the site.


Ecological Classification

Province

Prairie Parkland Province

Ecological Classification

Section

North Central Glaciated Plains

Subsection(s)

Inner Coteau

Land Type Association(s)

Blue Mounds

Trosky Till Plain

 
Native Plant Communities1

Crystalline Bedrock Outcrop (Prairie): Sioux Quartzite Subtype

Mesic Prairie (Southern)


Ownership

 
Links

Brandenburg Prairie Foundation

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service


Comments

Overview
The Northern Tallgrass Prairie National Wildlife Refuge consists of a mix of 41 privately-owned easements that are not open to the public and eight units that are open to the public. Six of the eight publicly accessible units are in Minnesota. One of those is the Touch the Sky Prairie Unit in Rock County. This is the only unit to date that has maintained trails and visitor kiosks with interpretive signs.


Visits

9/9/2011

  7/9/2014

 

 

Driving Directions

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Visitor Photos

   
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MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos

   

North Section


Parking

  Touch the Sky Prairie, north section  
       

National Wildlife Refuge Sign

  Touch the Sky Prairie, north section    
       

Mesic Prairie (Southern)

  Touch the Sky Prairie, north section   Touch the Sky Prairie, north section
       

Crystalline Bedrock Outcrop (Prairie): Sioux Quartzite Subtype

  Touch the Sky Prairie, north section    
       

Cattail Marsh

  Touch the Sky Prairie, north section    

Central Section


Parking

  Touch the Sky Prairie, central section   Touch the Sky Prairie, central section
       

Commemorative Marker

  Touch the Sky Prairie, central section    
       

Mesic Prairie (Southern)

  Touch the Sky Prairie, central section   Touch the Sky Prairie, central section
       

Crystalline Bedrock Outcrop (Prairie): Sioux Quartzite Subtype

  Touch the Sky Prairie, central section   Touch the Sky Prairie, central section
       

Other Prairie

  Touch the Sky Prairie, central section    
       

Beaver Creek

  Touch the Sky Prairie, central section    

South Section


Parking

  Touch the Sky Prairie, south section   Touch the Sky Prairie, south section
       

Mesic Prairie (Southern)

  Touch the Sky Prairie, south section    
       

Intermittent Stream

  Touch the Sky Prairie, south section   Touch the Sky Prairie, south section
       
       

 

Camera

     

Slideshows

   
 

Northern Tallgrass Prairie - Around the Refuge
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Midwest Region

 
   

 

slideshow

     

Visitor Videos

   
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Other Videos

 
  Touch The Sky Prairie
Bradley Herreid
 
   
 
About

Published on May 5, 2013

Spring morning at Touch The Sky Prairie

 
     
  Brandenburg Prairie Foundation: Touch the Sky Prairie
MrAbburg
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Nov 17, 2011

This is a stroll through The Touch the Sky Prairie near Blue Mounds State Park in Luverne, MN. This 1000 acre prairie preserve was purchased in partnership between The Brandenburg Prairie Foundation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1999. More information can be found at www.jimbrandenburg.com/bpf.

©Anthony Brandenburg

 
     

 

Camcorder

               

Visitor Observations

   
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MinnesotaSeasons.com Observations

   

Birds

One bird species with conservation status in Minnesota has been seen on at least one of the units of this NWR:

 

Special concern

Greater Prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus cupido)

 
 

American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)

American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)

Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus)

Clay-colored Sparrow (Spizella pallida)

Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)

Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)

Dickcissel (Spiza americana)

Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus)

Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum)

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)

Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)

Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)

Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)

Sedge Wren (Cistothorus platensis)

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)

Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta)

American Goldfinch

American Robin

Mourning Dove

Red-winged Blackbird

Song Sparrow


Insects and Arachnids

One insect species with conservation status in Minnesota has been seen on at least one of the units of this NWR:

 

Endangered

Dakota skipper (Hesperia dacotae)

 
 

American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis)

black swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

common green darner (Anax junius)

common wood nymph (Cercyonis pegala)

goldenrod gall fly (Eurosta solidaginis)

monarch (Danaus plexippus)

orange sulphur (Colias eurytheme)

twelve-spotted skimmer (Libellula pulchella)

variegated meadowhawk (Sympetrum corruptum)

widow skimmer (Libellula luctuosa)

common green darner

monarch

 

 


Mammals

plains pocket gopher (Geomys bursarius)

whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

whitetail deer


Plants

One plant species with conservation status in Minnesota is found here:

 

Endangered

western prairie fringed orchid (Platanthera praeclara)

 

Threatened

blue mudplantain (Heteranthera limosa)

prairie blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium campestre)

two-headed water starwort (Callitriche heterophylla var. heterophylla)

water pygmyweed (Crassula aquatica)

 
 

Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas (Bell Museum of Natural History) Plant List

 
 

Plants frequently found in:

Crystalline Bedrock Outcrop (Prairie): Sioux Quartzite Subtype ROs12a2

Mesic Prairie (Southern) UPs23a

 
 

 

American bugleweed (Lycopus americanus)

American elderberry (Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis)

American plum (Prunus americana)

asparagus (Asparagus officinalis)

big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii)

bittersweet nightshade (Solanum dulcamara)

black bindweed (Fallopia convolvulus)

black medick (Medicago lupulina)

blue vervain (Verbena hastata var. scabra)

bracted spiderwort (Tradescantia bracteata)

bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare)

butter and eggs (Linaria vulgaris)

Canada anemone (Anemone canadensis)

Canada lettuce (Lactuca canadensis)

Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense)

Canadian tick-trefoil (Desmodium canadense)

candle anemone (Anemone cylindrica)

clammy groundcherry (Physalis heterophylla var. heterophylla)

clammy hedge-hyssop (Gratiola neglecta)

clasping-leaved Venus’ looking-glass (Triodanis perfoliata ssp. perfoliata)

common evening primrose (Oenothera biennis)

common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)

common mullein (Verbascum thapsus ssp. thapsus)

common plantain (Plantago major)

common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia)

common strawberry (Fragaria virginiana)

common yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

compass plant (Silphium laciniatum)

cup plant (Silphium perfoliatum var. perfoliatum)

curly dock (Rumex crispus)

curly-cup gumweed (Grindelia squarrosa)

desert false indigo (Amorpha fruticosa)

downy phlox (Phlox pilosa ssp. fulgida)

early figwort (Scrophularia lanceolata)

false sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides var. occidentalis)

field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis)

field clover (Trifolium campestre)

field horsetail (Equisetum arvense)

field sow thistle (Sonchus arvensis)

foxtail barley (Hordeum jubatum ssp. jubatum)

giant goldenrod (Solidago gigantea)

golden alexanders (Zizia aurea)

gray-headed coneflower (Ratibida pinnata)

green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica)

grimmia dry rock moss (Grimmia laevigata)

hairy hedge nettle (Stachys pilosa var. pilosa)

heart-leaved four o’clock (Mirabilis nyctaginea)

heart-leaved golden alexanders (Zizia aptera)

hedge bindweed (Calystegia sepium)

hoary alyssum (Berteroa incana)

hoary vervain (Verbena stricta)

Indian hemp (Apocynum cannabinum)

leadplant (Amorpha canescens)

little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium var. scoparium)

Maximilian’s sunflower (Helianthus maximilianii)

meadow garlic (Allium canadense var. canadense)

musk thistle (Carduus nutans)

narrow-leaved cattail (Typha angustifolia)

narrow-leaved meadowsweet (Spiraea alba var. alba)

narrow-leaved purple coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia)

needle-and-thread (Hesperostipa comata ssp. comata)

northern bedstraw (Galium boreale)

plains cottonwood (Populus deltoides ssp. molinifera)

plains prickly pear (Opuntia macrorhiza)

plumeless thistle (Carduus acanthoides)

prairie alumroot (Heuchera richardsonii)

prairie blazing star (Liatris pycnostachya var. pycnostachya)

prairie bush clover (Lespedeza leptostachya)

prairie coreopsis (Coreopsis palmata)

prairie fleabane (Erigeron strigosus var. strigosus)

prairie larkspur (Delphinium carolinianum ssp. virescens)

prairie peppergrass (Lepidium densiflorum var. densiflorum)

prairie rose (Rosa arkansana)

prickly lettuce (Lactuca serriola)

purple prairie clover (Dalea purpurea var. purpurea)

red clover (Trifolium pratense)

roadside agrimony (Agrimonia striata)

rough blazing star (Liatris aspera)

rough cinquefoil (Potentilla norvegica)

rough false pennyroyal (Hedeoma hispida)

rough-fruited cinquefoil (Potentilla recta)

round-headed bush clover (Lespedeza capitata)

Siberian elm (Ulmus pumila)

smooth brome (Bromus inermis)

smooth scouring rush (Equisetum laevigatum)

spotted water hemlock (Cicuta maculata)

stiff goldenrod (Solidago rigida ssp. rigida)

swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata ssp. incarnata)

tall cinquefoil (Drymocallis arguta)

tall meadow rue (Thalictrum dasycarpum)

timothy (Phleum pratense)

veiny pea (Lathyrus venosus)

Virginia groundcherry (Physalis virginiana var. virginiana)

water smartweed (Persicaria amphibia)

western marbleseed (Lithospermum occidentale)

white prairie clover (Dalea candida var. candida)

white sage (Artemisia ludoviciana ssp. ludoviciana)

white sweet clover (Melilotus albus)

wild cucumber (Echinocystis lobata)

wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa)

wolfberry (Symphoricarpos occidentalis)

wood lily (Lilium philadelphicum var. andinum)

woodbine (Parthenocissus vitacea)

yellow avens (Geum aleppicum)

yellow sweet clover (Melilotus officinalis)

yellow wood sorrel (Oxalis stricta)

 

Achillea millefolium (common yarrow)

Agrimonia striata (roadside agrimony)

Allium canadense var. canadense (meadow garlic)

Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed)

Amorpha canescens (leadplant)

Amorpha fruticosa (desert false indigo)

Andropogon gerardii (big bluestem)

Anemone canadensis (Canada anemone)

Anemone cylindrica (candle anemone)

Apocynum cannabinum (Indian hemp)

Artemisia ludoviciana ssp. ludoviciana (white sage)

Asclepias incarnata ssp. incarnata (swamp milkweed)

Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)

Asparagus officinalis (asparagus)

Berteroa incana (hoary alyssum)

Bromus inermis (smooth brome)

Calystegia sepium (hedge bindweed)

Carduus acanthoides (plumeless thistle)

Carduus nutans (musk thistle)

Cicuta maculata (spotted water hemlock)

Cirsium arvense (Canada thistle)

Cirsium vulgare (bull thistle)

Convolvulus arvensis (field bindweed)

Coreopsis palmata (prairie coreopsis)

Dalea candida var. candida (white prairie clover)

Dalea purpurea var. purpurea (purple prairie clover)

Delphinium carolinianum ssp. virescens (prairie larkspur)

Desmodium canadense (Canadian tick-trefoil)

Drymocallis arguta (tall cinquefoil)

Echinacea angustifolia (narrow-leaved purple coneflower)

Echinocystis lobata (wild cucumber)

Equisetum arvense (field horsetail)

Equisetum laevigatum (smooth scouring rush)

Erigeron strigosus var. strigosus (prairie fleabane)

Fallopia convolvulus (black bindweed)

Fragaria virginiana (common strawberry)

Fraxinus pennsylvanica (green ash)

Galium boreale (northern bedstraw)

Geum aleppicum (yellow avens)

Gratiola neglecta (clammy hedge-hyssop)

Grimmia laevigata (grimmia dry rock moss)

Grindelia squarrosa (curly-cup gumweed)

Hedeoma hispida (rough false pennyroyal)

Helianthus maximilianii (Maximilian’s sunflower)

Heliopsis helianthoides var. occidentalis (false sunflower)

Hesperostipa comata ssp. comata (needle-and-thread)

Heuchera richardsonii (prairie alumroot)

Hordeum jubatum ssp. jubatum (foxtail barley)

Lactuca canadensis (Canada lettuce)

Lactuca serriola (prickly lettuce)

Lathyrus venosus (veiny pea)

Lepidium densiflorum var. densiflorum (prairie peppergrass)

Lespedeza capitata (round-headed bush clover)

Lespedeza leptostachya (prairie bush clover)

Liatris aspera (rough blazing star)

Liatris pycnostachya var. pycnostachya (prairie blazing star)

Lilium philadelphicum var. andinum (wood lily)

Linaria vulgaris (butter and eggs)

Lithospermum occidentale (western marbleseed)

Lycopus americanus (American bugleweed)

Medicago lupulina (black medick)

Melilotus albus (white sweet clover)

Melilotus officinalis (yellow sweet clover)

Mirabilis nyctaginea (heart-leaved four o’clock)

Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose)

Opuntia macrorhiza (plains prickly pear)

Oxalis stricta (yellow wood sorrel)

Parthenocissus vitacea (woodbine)

Pastinaca sativa (wild parsnip)

Persicaria amphibia (water smartweed)

Phleum pratense (timothy)

Phlox pilosa ssp. fulgida (downy phlox)

Physalis heterophylla var. heterophylla (clammy groundcherry)

Physalis virginiana var. virginiana (Virginia groundcherry)

Plantago major (common plantain)

Populus deltoides ssp. molinifera (plains cottonwood)

Potentilla norvegica (rough cinquefoil)

Potentilla recta (rough-fruited cinquefoil)

Prunus americana (American plum)

Ratibida pinnata (gray-headed coneflower)

Rosa arkansana (prairie rose)

Rumex crispus (curly dock)

Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis (American elderberry)

Schizachyrium scoparium var. scoparium (little bluestem)

Scrophularia lanceolata (early figwort)

Silphium laciniatum (compass plant)

Silphium perfoliatum var. perfoliatum (cup plant)

Solanum dulcamara (bittersweet nightshade)

Solidago gigantea (giant goldenrod)

Solidago rigida ssp. rigida (stiff goldenrod)

Sonchus arvensis (field sow thistle)

Spiraea alba var. alba (narrow-leaved meadowsweet)

Stachys pilosa var. pilosa (hairy hedge nettle)

Symphoricarpos occidentalis (wolfberry)

Thalictrum dasycarpum (tall meadow rue)

Tradescantia bracteata (bracted spiderwort)

Trifolium campestre (field clover)

Trifolium pratense (red clover)

Triodanis perfoliata ssp. perfoliata (clasping-leaved Venus’ looking-glass)

Typha angustifolia (narrow-leaved cattail)

Ulmus pumila (Siberian elm)

Verbascum thapsus ssp. thapsus (common mullein)

Verbena hastata var. scabra (blue vervain)

Verbena stricta (hoary vervain)

Zizia aptera (heart-leaved golden alexanders)

Zizia aurea (golden alexanders)

American elderberry

American plum

bracted spiderwort

butter and eggs

Canada anemone

common evening primrose

common mullein

compass plant

cup plant

desert false indigo

false sunflower

gray-headed coneflower

heart-leaved four o’clock

hedge bindweed

leadplant

musk thistle

narrow-leaved purple coneflower

northern bedstraw

prairie larkspur

prairie rose

purple prairie clover

red clover

rough cinquefoil

swamp milkweed

swamp smartweed

white prairie clover

wood lily

yellow sweet clover


 

 

Binoculars

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