Pipestone National Monument plans to have a prescribed burn lasting one day during the period of April 18 – May 21. When appropriate wind, temperature and humidity conditions exist within this date range, approximately 100 acres of the tall grass prairie will be burned.
Additional information will be provided to park neighbors and the media when the appropriate conditions are forecast and the specific date of the prescribed burn is determined. The Circle Trail and South Quarry Trail will be closed for portions of that day for safety.
Historically, the 18 million acres of native tall grass prairie that once covered the central plains, including Minnesota, experienced repeated lightning-caused fires. The continual burning of the prairie reduced the buildup of accumulated organic plant material and suppressed the growth of woody tree and shrub species. This in turn ensured native prairie growth by recycling essential nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphate, potassium, and trace minerals and decreasing plant competition from invading exotic species.
Prescribed burns are conducted to mimic the benefits that fire produces for a healthy prairie. The Monument has been conducting burns of the tall grass prairie since 1971.
The best way the public can support the health of the rare tall grass prairie at Pipestone is to stay on the paved trail while visiting.