Fresh Tracks

Our charter preserve is Fresh Tracks Nature Preserve, a stunningly beautiful two square mile shortgrass prairie expanse. It has bounced back to life over the past decade, given its protection from any commercial activities. Visitors are amazed at the beautiful stands of feathergrass and needle-and-thread. They sway in the wind and bring to life the concept of a “sea of grass.” (See photo by Jess Alford at right; these grasses reach past your knees). Three miles to the south are the Marianne Rees and Two Marys Nature Preserves.

Fresh Tracks is alive with wild creatures and native plants. We delight in the prairie dog colonies on Fresh Tracks and regularly see pronghorn, coyotes, badgers, raptors, and other wildlife as well. Other remarkable plants include echinacea (purple coneflower) and Colorado green gentian. Fresh Tracks has thousands of green gentian plants and may contain the largest population in existence.

We think the area wildlife appreciates some of the changes we’ve made, including offering native fauna full refuge and making our fences wildlife-friendly.

See an aerial view of Fresh Tracks. Notice how dark (i.e. vegetated) our prairie is compared to its neighboring properties which are grazed by livestock.

Happenings on Fresh Tracks: 

In summer 2014 visits, we saw beautiful wildflowers and grasses, such as penstemon, Indian ricegrass, needle and thread, Dakota verbena, Colorado green gentian, echinacea, cryptanthas, and Indian rush-pea. At the biggest pond on the preserve, we saw a cormorant, great blue heron, and northern shovelers. In August, we saw huge flocks of lark buntings, who especially love the yucca flower heads and stalks (pictured here).

Here is a sampling of wildflowers we often see blooming on this preserve:  (Photos by Nicole Rosmarino)