Railroad Prairie Natural Area


 

Natural areas can be found across
the state and they protect some of the prime examples of the varied ecosystems
that can be found here. The Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission manages these
lands to preserve and restore natural communities that have become rare in
Arkansas. 
 
On the route to Hazen on Highway 70, folks will notice wooden signs for the
Railroad Prairie Natural Area. This 250-acre area, stretching along portions of
the abandoned right-of-way of the former Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific
railroad, gives visitors a glimpse of the original tallgrass prairie that once
made up the Grand Prairie. Today, less than 1% of these grasslands that
occurred across this region remain and they serve as critical habitat for a
variety of rare plants and animals. 
 
In addition to typical prairie
grasses, such as big bluestem and Indiangrass, the area blooms with colorful
wildflowers such as narrow-leaved sunflower and wild indigo from spring into
fall. Travel on the natural area is limited to foot traffic to minimize erosion
and disturbance to sensitive areas. There are opportunitiesfor low-impact recreation such as bird
watching, hiking and photography.

 

 

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