After his epic exploration in 1673, Louis Joliet reported the tall grass prairie to be "three, six, ten, and twenty leagues in length." Expansive and diverse, Judge James Hall wrote about the same prairies in 1839 saying that although the plains may appear level they should be called "rolling" since they resembled "the long, heavy swell of the ocean when its waves are subsiding to rest after the agitation of a storm." Today, only tiny fragments of the tall grass prairie are left on the landscape and what was once likened to an ocean, exists now only as small isolated islands. It is a rare thing indeed to experience the original tallgrass prairie, especially in Iowa which has less than one tenth of one percent remaining.
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Hayden Prairie State Preserve
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