Information on Prairie / Ecology
Spend a Day Seeing the Minnesota Prairie
Southwestern Minnesota is prairie country, and Murray County is right in the heart of the prairie. Not far from the Banks of Plum Creek and the site of Laura Ingalls’ recollections, Murray County could have been used as a filming location for Little House on the Prairie.
Start your day in Fulda. Drive around the Seven Mile Lake, taking note of the geese and other wild fowl. If you are fortunate, you’ll even see the Wood Duck, Fulda’s favorite bird. On the shores of Seven Mile Lake, be sure to admire St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church, noted for its stained glass windows and beautiful lakeshore setting. Visit the Civil War Cannon at the City Park, and stop to see the Civil War monument at the Prairie Hill Cemetery just north of town.
As you drive north on Hwy 59, you’ll note the expansive prairie that drew European settlers here to farm. In the summer, fertile fields host soybean and corn crops that are the envy of other parts of the country. The county’s rich soil gives back a bountiful harvest. In the winter, watch for snowmobiling enthusiasts who blaze along the county’s trails.
Six miles north of Fulda is Avoca and Lime Lake. Known for the beautiful sunsets, Lime Lake also hosts wildfowl. This early Catholic colony settled here because of the good water.
Six miles further north is Slayton, the County Seat of Murray County. Known as the Hub City, Slayton was the business center of the county during its agricultural beginnings. Visit the Murray County Historical Museum to see the Wornson Log Cabin and get a first hand view of pioneer life from 130 years ago.
Head west on Highway 30 and you’ll notice a visible change in the prairie landscape. Imagine that you are a settler from years past, traveling by wagon across a sea of prairie grass. As you drive through Hadley on your way to Lake Wilson, you’ll see the famous Buffalo Ridge take form. A natural formation that has shaped the area’s weather for years, the Buffalo Ridge is an awe-inspiring site.
Head south on 91 and travel to Chandler. Visit the Chandler Wind Farm and you’ll see a series of wind turbines towering above the prairie, harnessing the natural energy for the wind that sweeps across the prairies. Local residents will tell you the wind never stops.
Head back east to Iona and visit the Lundblad Prairie, a native prairie on the edge of Badger Lake, three miles NE of Iona. In this rustic location, you can imagine how the early pioneers saw this land. Awesome in its magnitude. Humbling in its breadth.