Kick off the new year with a First Day Bison Saunter at Prairie State Park.
“What is a ‘saunter’?” you say? According to Merriam-Webster, “saunter” means “to walk about in an idle or leisurely manner : STROLL” (that is, to walk at a slower pace to take in all the surroundings). That sounds better than a hike. Come out and get that “prairie feeling” from centuries past, and while you are at it, get some exercise. Prairie State Park encompasses almost 4,000 acres of tallgrass prairie, which once covered 33% of Missouri. Now, less than half of 1% remains.
Visitors should be prepared for at least a 2-mile saunter over uneven terrain in winter conditions. Since we won’t know the location of the bison until the morning of the event, we can’t give a definite length for the saunter. You are encouraged to bring water and snacks and wear sturdy footwear. The wind can be rather nasty this time of year – be sure to dress for it. Following the saunter, refreshments will be provided.
Due to the unique and rare diversity of life preserved at Prairie State Park, pets are not allowed on park trails, EXCEPT for Path of the Earth People and Path of the Sky People. Bison graze freely in the park, and this regulation protects both you and your pet. You are welcome to bring your pet to the park’s campground and picnic area, but must follow Missouri State Parks’ pet rules. This applies to all types of pets except service animals assisting people with disabilities.
This event is free and open to all ages, but registration is required and is limited to 25 people. A registration link will be available here: https://icampmo1.usedirect.com/MSPWeb/Activities/Search.aspx.
Meet at the park’s Regal Tallgrass Prairie Nature Center. For more information to check the status of the event, call 417-843-6711.