Location: Barton, Missouri
Webpage: Missouri State Park
General Description: Prairie State Park is a public recreation area of nearly 4,000 acres that is being restored to the tallgrass prairie that once covered more than a third of Missouri. Management activities include an active burning program, seeding of native grasses, tree removal, and control of invasive species. The state park has a thriving herd of native bison of over 50 animals that roam freely in a large section of the park. There are many hiking trails of varying lengths through the different sections of the prairie.
1) The Regal Tallgrass Prairie Nature Center has a few exhibits about the wild flora and fauna that can be seen in the park, as well as, trail maps and good suggestions of where to find what you are interested in. In the spring, newly burned areas are the best for wildflowers, the trails along the streams are best for birding, and the large section around the Nature Center are the best opportunity to see the free ranging bison.
2) We choose the 2.75 mile trail at the Nature Center as this gave the best opportunity to see the bison herd. Unfortunately, we did not see any bison on our hike as they were likely resting in the shade of the trees along the stream.