OK- Originally covering portions of 14 states, there's now only four percent of the tallgrass prairie left. But you can see a rather large and beautiful part of it right here in Oklahoma. This weekend on Discover Oklahoma, Dino Lalli tells us about this amazing ecosystem.
In many ways, this area is like a living ark. It's been called the big green. The sheer expansiveness of it can humble you- leave you in awe. But while it's massive, covering 40,000 acres, it's also serene and peaceful. But very much alive. It's a big open landscape that demands respect; the last big chunk of tallgrass prairie, really, left on the continent.
"To me, prairie means unfettered horizon where you can spin around 360 degrees and it's just this open space. To me, grasslands and prairie are all about the openness of the landscape and that's what this is that rolling landscape kind of takes your breath away from you. Not what you would expect in this part of the country. "
The nature conservancy got involved in preserving the tallgrass prairie back in the late 80's. Their intention was to try and restore the amazing ecosystem found here. Now the reason the bison are here is for the ecological influence that they provide. The conservancy does controlled or prescribed burns to mimic the seasonality of fires that shaped the prairie. Consequently, this eco system is the only one of its kind any place in the world.