Western Prairie SNA


Area and County

    Wilkin County
    Northwest Minnesota

Driving Directions

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320 acres


 Printable Maps with GPS coordinates

Printable map    

Parking and field access to south section
N46 31.068, W96 25.497

Field access to north section
N46 31.652, W96 25.497

Hiking Trails

No maintained trails


No hunting

Ecological Classification Province  

Prairie Parkland Province

Ecological Classification

Red River Valley


Red River Prairie

Land Type Association(s)

Barnesville Beach Complex

Campbell Lake Plain

Native Plant Communities1

Saline Wet Prairie Complex

Ownership The Nature Conservancy logo

Minnesota DNR

The Nature Conservancy


Dry Access
An intermittent drainage ditch divides the prairie from east to west into two sections. Water-filled drainage ditches border the north, west, and south edges. Dry access to the south section is possible from the parking spot. Dry access to the north section is available from a narrow field access on the same road near the northwest corner of the prairie.








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  Western Prairie SNA    

Wood Routed Sign

  Western Prairie SNA    

Saline Wet Prairie Complex

  Western Prairie SNA   Western Prairie SNA






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Visitor Observations
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MinnesotaSeasons.com Observations

northern leopard frog (Rana pipiens)

northern leopard frog

Nine bird species with conservation status in Minnesota have been seen here:



Henslow’s Sparrow (Ammodramus henslowii)

Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus)



Wilson’s Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor)


Special concern

Franklin’s Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan)

Greater Prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus cupido)

Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa fedoa)

Nelson’s Sparrow (Ammodramus nelsoni)

Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)

Yellow Rail (Coturnicops noveboracensis)


Minnesota DNR Bird checklist


Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)

Canada Goose

Insects and Arachnids

One insect species with conservation status in Minnesota has been seen here:


Special concern

regal fritillary (Speyeria idalia)


black-tipped darner (Aeshna tuberculifera)

familiar bluet (Enallagma civile)

monarch (Danaus plexippus)

seven-spotted lady beetle (Coccinella septempunctata)

white-faced meadowhawk (Sympetrum obtrusum)

white-faced meadowhawk

coyote (Canis latrans)

whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

whitetail deer

Five plant species with conservation status in Minnesota and one species on the watch list are found here:



red saltwort (Salicornia rubra)


Special concern

deer sedge (Carex hallii)

pleated gentian (Gentiana affinis)

Rydberg’s sunflower (Helianthus nuttallii ssp. rydbergii)

small white lady’s slipper (Cypripedium candidum)


Watch list

Nuttall’s alkali grass (Puccinellia nuttalliana)


Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas Plant List



American bugleweed (Lycopus americanus)

big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii)

bottle gentian (Gentiana andrewsii)

butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa ssp. interior)

Canada anemone (Anemone canadensis)

Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis)

Canadian milkvetch (Astragalus canadensis var. canadensis)

common boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum var. perfoliatum)

common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale ssp. officinale)

common evening primrose (Oenothera biennis)

common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)

common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia)

common sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale)

common sow thistle (Sonchus oleraceus)

curly dock (Rumex crispus)

downy gentian (Gentiana puberulenta)

field sow thistle (Sonchus arvensis)

Flodman’s thistle (Cirsium flodmanii)

giant ragweed (Ambrosia trifida var. trifida)

golden alexanders (Zizia aurea)

grass-leaved goldenrod (Euthamia graminifolia var. graminifolia)

heart-leaved golden alexanders (Zizia aptera)

hedge bindweed (Calystegia sepium)

Indian hemp (Apocynum cannabinum)

Maximilian’s sunflower (Helianthus maximiliani)

Missouri goldenrod (Solidago missouriensis)

narrow-leaved cattail (Typha angustifolia)

nodding ladies’ tresses (Spiranthes cernua)

northern bugleweed (Lycopus uniflorus var. uniflorus)

prairie blazing star (Liatris pycnostachya var. pycnostachya)

prairie cordgrass (Spartina pectinata)

prairie rose (Rosa arkansana)

purple lovegrass (Eragrostis spectabilis)

purple prairie clover (Dalea purpurea var. purpurea)

purple rattlesnake root (Nabalus racemosus)

red-seeded dandelion (Taraxacum erythrospermum)

rough blazing star (Liatris aspera)

Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia)

Rydberg’s sunflower (Helianthus nuttallii ssp. rydbergii)

scouring rush horsetail (Equisetum hyemale var. affine)

showy blue lettuce (Lactuca tatarica ssp. pulchella)

showy goldenrod (Solidago speciosa)

silverweed (Argentina anserina)

spotted Joe Pye weed (Eutrochium maculatum var. bruneri)

stiff goldenrod (Solidago rigida)

swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata ssp. incarnata)

tall meadow rue (Thalictrum dasycarpum)

Virginia mountain mint (Pycnanthemum virginianum)

western ragweed (Ambrosia psilostachya)

white ash (Fraxinus americana)

white heath aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides var. ericoides)

white panicled aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum)

white sage (Artemisia ludoviciana ssp. ludoviciana)

white sweet clover (Melilotus albus)

whorled milkweed (Asclepias verticillata)

wild licorice (Glycyrrhiza lepidota)

wolfberry (Symphoricarpos occidentalis)

yellow sweet clover (Melilotus officinalis)


Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed)

Ambrosia psilostachya (western ragweed)

Ambrosia trifida var. trifida (giant ragweed)

Andropogon gerardii (big bluestem)

Anemone canadensis (Canada anemone)

Apocynum cannabinum (Indian hemp)

Argentina anserina (silverweed)

Artemisia ludoviciana ssp. ludoviciana (white sage)

Asclepias incarnata ssp. incarnata (swamp milkweed)

Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)

Asclepias tuberosa ssp. interior (butterfly weed)

Asclepias verticillata (whorled milkweed)

Astragalus canadensis var. canadensis (Canadian milkvetch)

Calystegia sepium (hedge bindweed)

Cirsium flodmanii (Flodman’s thistle)

Dalea purpurea var. purpurea (purple prairie clover)

Elaeagnus angustifolia (Russian olive)

Equisetum hyemale var. affine (scouring rush horsetail)

Eragrostis spectabilis (purple lovegrass)

Eupatorium perfoliatum var. perfoliatum (common boneset)

Euthamia graminifolia var. graminifolia (grass-leaved goldenrod)

Eutrochium maculatum var. bruneri (spotted Joe Pye weed)

Fraxinus americana (white ash)

Gentiana andrewsii (bottle gentian)

Gentiana puberulenta (downy gentian)

Glycyrrhiza lepidota (wild licorice)

Helenium autumnale (common sneezeweed)

Helianthus maximiliani (Maximilian’s sunflower)

Helianthus nuttallii ssp. rydbergii (Rydberg’s sunflower)

Lactuca tatarica ssp. pulchella (showy blue lettuce)

Liatris aspera (rough blazing star)

Liatris pycnostachya var. pycnostachya (prairie blazing star)

Lycopus americanus (American bugleweed)

Lycopus uniflorus var. uniflorus (northern bugleweed)

Melilotus albus (white sweet clover)

Melilotus officinalis (yellow sweet clover)

Nabalus racemosus (purple rattlesnake root)

Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose)

Pycnanthemum virginianum (Virginia mountain mint)

Rosa arkansana (prairie rose)

Rumex crispus (curly dock)

Solidago canadensis (Canada goldenrod)

Solidago missouriensis (Missouri goldenrod)

Solidago rigida (stiff goldenrod)

Solidago speciosa (showy goldenrod)

Sonchus arvensis (field sow thistle)

Sonchus oleraceus (common sow thistle)

Spartina pectinata (prairie cordgrass)

Spiranthes cernua (nodding ladies’ tresses)

Symphoricarpos occidentalis (wolfberry)

Symphyotrichum ericoides var. ericoides (white heath aster)

Symphyotrichum lanceolatum (white panicled aster)

Taraxacum erythrospermum (red-seeded dandelion)

Taraxacum officinale ssp. officinale (common dandelion)

Thalictrum dasycarpum (tall meadow rue)

Typha angustifolia (narrow-leaved cattail)

Zizia aptera (heart-leaved golden alexanders)

Zizia aurea (golden alexanders)

bottle gentian

Canada goldenrod

Canadian milkvetch

common evening primrose

downy gentian

heart-leaved golden alexanders

nodding ladies’ tresses

prairie cordgrass

prairie rose

Russian olive

stiff goldenrod

swamp milkweed

tall meadow rue

whorled milkweed

wild licorice





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