Regal Meadow is part of an ancient outwash valley of the Crow Wing River that stretches from the town of Sedan, eastward to Richmond in southwestern Stearns County. This valley also includes TNC's Roscoe Prairie, which is located northeast of Regal Meadow in Stearns County.
Kandiyohi County (near Paynesville)
Where the wet prairie and marsh meet the drier parts of the preserve small white lady's slipper is found, along with the small fringed gentian and death camas. Relative newcomers to this zone are willows and dogwoods that moved in during the 1960s, when haying stopped and wildfires mostly ceased.
Other interesting flowers in the preserve include Riddell's goldenrod, Seneca snakeroot, wood lily and Indian paintbrush. The drier portions of the preserve are dominated by little bluestem and Indian grass, while the wet prairie is dominated by bluejoints and sedges.
During the summer, preserve flowers often host butterflies such as the regal fritillary, a species of special concern. The preserve originally supported the poweshiek skipper, a now federally endangered species, but it has not been documented here in recent years. Visitors to Regal Meadow Preserve will also not want to miss the thumping of the American bittern in the marsh, often audible for a half-mile. This medium-sized brown heron is one of several bird species found at Regal Meadow.
Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
Regal Meadow contains high quality remnants of wet and mesic prairie and sedge meadow communities.
What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
Regal Meadow Preserve was acquired by The Nature Conservancy in stages (beginning in 1979) from five separate owners, including Mrs. Annabelle Ruhland and her family. Mrs. Ruhland's father and grandfather were naturalists, and because of their interest in land preservation, great care was taken to protect species, especially the small white lady's slipper, a species of special concern in Minnesota.
Restoring prairie on the preserve has been an ongoing process. Continued grassland restoration and land acquisition will buffer these important prairie communities.
For more information on visiting this and other Minnesota preserves, check out our Preserve Visitation Guidelines.
From Paynesville, take Minnesota Highway 23 southwest for approximately six miles to Hawick. Turn north and drive on a gravel road for two miles. The preserve is on the west side of the road.