Chaparral Prairie State Nature Preserve

View of Chaparral Prairie

Chaparral Prairie State Nature Preserve is located in Adams County, Ohio, United States, near the city of West Union. The prairie is a remnant of what was once a larger prairie ecosystem caused by the Holocene climatic optimum, a climatic change that created a warmer and drier climate more suitable for prairie species. As the climate cooled and precipitation increased in modern times, the prairie organisms found refuge on the dry, rocky openings in this part of the state. Native American fires may have also played a role in maintaining this landscape. Today, controlled burns are used at Chaparral Prairie to keep woody species at bay.

Chaparral Prairie supports the most extensive population of rattlesnake-master in the state. Prairie dock and spiked blazing star are also unusually abundant at this site, as well as eleven state-endangered species, including Blue False Indigo. Post oak, blackjack oak, and eastern redcedar are the most common trees surviving in the prairie, and little bluestem is the dominant prairie grass. The rare Edward's hairstreak butterfly has also been observed.

This 67-acre (270,000 m2) preserve is open to the public, and contains a 0.75-mile (1.21 km) trail with bulletin board, interpretive signs and a parking lot.

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