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North America's grasslands once stretched from southern Canada to northern Mexico, and across this considerable space different prairie types evolved to express the sum of their particular longitude and latitude, soils, landforms, and aspect. This prairie guide is your roadmap to what remains of this varied and majestic landscape.
Suzanne Winckler's goal is to encourage travelers to get off the highways, out of their cars, and onto North America's last remaining prairies. She makes this adventure as easy as possible by providing exact driving directions to the more than three hundred sites in her guide. She also includes information about size, management, phone numbers, and outstanding characteristics for every prairie site and provides readers with a thorough list of recommended readings and Web sites.
The scope of the guide is impressive. It encompasses prairies found within national grasslands, parks, forests, recreation areas, wildlife refuges, state parks, preserves, and natural areas and on numerous working ranches in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the Dakotas, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas. A series of maps locate the prairies both geographically and by name.
From "the largest restoration project within the historic range of tallgrass prairie" at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge in Iowa to Big Bend National Park in Texas, where "the Chisos Mountains, completely surrounded by the park, rise up majestically from the Chihuahuan Desert floor," Winckler celebrates the dramatic expanses of untouched prairie, the crown jewels of prairie reconstruction and restoration, and the neglected remnants that deserve to be treasured.
"Though most of the grassland that once covered this continent is long gone, Suzanne Winckler's thorough and heartfelt survey shows us what remains and reminds us of the lost glory of the American landscape."
- Stephen Harrigan, author of A Natural State
"Suzanne Winckler provides a guide to little-known areas, the remnants of the once vast midcontinent prairie of North America, a roadmap to hallowed ground. To know and appreciate the prairie you must experience it, both the grass-covered landscape that reaches to the sky and the myriad of small delicate wildflowers that must be viewed close-up. Winckler's book does a fine job of getting you to the prairie remnants. With the locations and directions provided, you can join a special group of people, 'prairie walkers', and experience the prairie."
- Daryl D. Smith, director, Native Roadside Vegetation Center, University of Northern Iowa