Celebrate our our Western Washington prairies at Prairie Appreciation Day Saturday, May 14th 10am-3pm! Bring family and friends for a free
Celebrate our our Western Washington prairies at Prairie Appreciation Day Saturday, May 14th 10am-3pm! Bring family and friends for a free outing that’s fun for everyone.
See Thurston County’s Glacial Heritage Preserve, one of the largest remaining remnants of Western Washington’s endangered prairie ecosystem. Or take a walk-through or group tour at the Center for Natural Lands Management’s Violet Prairie Native Seed Farm open house. The Department of Natural Resources’ Mima Mounds Natural Areas is also available to visit with a Discover Pass and is ideal for those looking for an easier and more accessible outing to the blooming prairies. For those looking to take their pets out on the prairie, the
Scatter Creek Wildlife Area Unit (information at https://wdfw.wa.gov/places-to-go/wildlife-areas/scatter-creek-wildlife-area-unit) is ideal.
Glacial Heritage Preserve
To enjoy the prairie there are two interpretive loops, an Activity Trail, about 1 mile, and a Self-Guided Trail, about 4 miles.
The Activity Trail, ~ 1 mile: contains a number of informative stations covering various aspects of our South Sound prairies. The stations have experts to discuss each topic as well as activities for children and the young at heart. You can make seed balls, try your hand at writing with ink made from oak galls, talk to experts about gardening with native prairie plants, or how fire is used to restore prairies.
The Self-Guided Trail, ~ 4 miles: A good choice for those who just want to absorb the ambiance and peace of the prairies, this route also includes a cut-off trail for those wishing a shorter walk.
Black Hills Audubon Society will be hosting an early morning bird walk. Check their website http://blackhills-audubon.org/ for details.
Mima Mounds Natural Areas
Here, visitors will find a paved trail that is ideal for families with toddlers and those who want a less strenuous experience while walking and witnessing the mounds in full flower. This location is fully accessible and includes wheelchair-accessible restrooms at the trailhead. Discover Passes are required.
Violet Prairie Native Seed Farm
During the farm’s open house from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM, visitors are welcome to walk through or to take part in guided tours and learn more about the full scope of the work that goes into growing and restoring native species on the South Sound prairies. Many of the beds will be in full bloom, offering unique floral contrasts and an opportunity to see a wide variety of native South Sound plant species living all in one area.
For your visit, a few things to remember:
Temperature changes from morning to afternoon can be extensive; be prepared for cold, windy, and hot
No food or water is available. Bring drinks, snacks, or a picnic.
Please leave pets at home.
*Visitors are encouraged to bring a donation for the Thurston County Food Bank. (No glass, please.)
More information and directions can be found on the Friends of Puget Prairies website at http://www.prairieappreciationday.org, or call 360-819-4513.
Violet Prairie Native Seed Farm, drive south on I-5 to exit 88 east (old Highway 99 towards Tenino) Go three miles to the South Sound Speedway. Turn left after the speedway on Gibson road. After 1/2 mile the farm is on your left. Pull in at the barn and greenhouses.
For Glacial Heritage Preserve and Mima Mounds Natural Areas, Take I-5 to Exit 95. Go west through Littlerock on 128th Ave SW straight through Littlerock (note that the other two directions of traffic at the intersection with Littlerock Rd. do not stop) until you reach a stop sign at the T in the road.
For Glacial Heritage Preserve turn LEFT at the T onto Mima Rd. Drive south 2.7 miles and turn left at the event sign onto a gravel road. Drive to the gate of Glacial Heritage and follow parking directions. Please respect the local residents and observe a speed limit of 10 mph on the access road.
For Mima Mounds Natural Areas, turn RIGHT at the T onto Waddell Creek Rd. Drive north approximately 0.7 of a mile until you see the event sign. Turn left into Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve. Please park with care as tour buses will be using the access road.
There will be signs posted on the roadside to both Glacial Heritage and Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve.