In 1995 the Kansas City Southern Railroad donated 376 acres in Vernon County to MPF. The site is named for Arthur Stilwell, founder of the railroad that forms the western boundary of the site. Stilwell Prairie is situated on a ridgetop with views of the Little Osage River Valley to the north and the Marmaton River Valley to the south. It contains two state-imperiled community types tracked by the Missouri Natural Heritage Database: dry-mesic limestone/dolomite and dry-mesic sandstone/shale prairie natural communities, as well as more than 325 native vascular plant species, including the federally threatened Mead’s milkweed (Asclepias meadii). Approximately 117 acres of Stilwell is high quality prairie, and the remainder is in varying stages of restoration. Much activity, involving removal of woody growth, and introduction of native grasses and forbs in restoration areas, is moving MPF closer to its goal of complete restoration of native grassland habitat of the site, which will benefit grassland birds as well as many other species of native plants and animals.
Several species inventories have been conducted at Stilwell, including plants, bees, and birds. The Stilwell plant list, as well as all MPF plant lists, is available with the PlantList app for Android devices on Google Play Store.
Report on bees found at Golden and Stilwell Prairies
Stilwell Prairie is located in Vernon County on CR 500, 1 mile east of Richards on Route H and then 1 mile north on CR 500. Parking is available by the gated entrance at the intersection of CR 500 and Indian Line Road. By GPS, N37 55.723 W94 32.510 (in decimal degrees, 37.92872 -94.54184).
Missouri Prairie Foundation’s Stilwell Prairie Open for Youth Hunting & Fishing Beginning April 2018 – read full news release here