Hiker on Folsom Point
Hiker on Folsom Point Hiker on Folsom Point © Chris Helzer/TNC

Places We Protect

Iowa

Folsom Point

This preserve outside of Council Bluffs contains high-quality prairie.

The Great Plains skink recently was discovered on the Folsom Point Preserve and is thought to be one of the few remaining homes for this species in Iowa. Prior to 2002, this rare lizard last had been observed in Iowa in 1984, 40 miles to the south. This unique site also is home to other unusual species. Folsom Point is one of the only areas where the northern subspecies and southern subspecies of the Leonard’s skipper butterfly meet and hybridize.

Why You Should Visit

Folsom Point Prairie features spectacular landscapes, with open prairie ridges rising dramatically out of the Missouri River floodplain. This preserve not only has high-quality prairie on the ridges; it also has a rare example of mesic prairie in one of the valleys. These high-quality habitats support a high diversity of prairie plants, birds and butterflies.

Location

South of Council Bluffs, in Pottawattamie and Mills Counties

Conditions

The terrain is quite rugged with steep slopes. The preserve is used for research by local students, so visitors should avoid flags and other markers. Currently, about 60 acres is leased by a local farmer, therefore, farming activities might be present during your visit.

Why the Conservancy Selected This Site

Folsom Point Prairie protects one of the largest remaining contiguous prairie remnants in the southern Loess Hills. Purchased in 1999, the prairie provides a valuable habitat for grassland animals, particularly in an area where the prairie community has largely disappeared.

What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing

Before the acquisition of the Folsom Point Prairie by the Conservancy, one of the loess ridges fell victim to fill-dirt removal. The Conservancy is battling the erosion from this area while trying to reconstruct the prairie. Additionally, prairie will be reconstructed in the agricultural fields as part of the long-term plans for this site. Control of woody plants (particularly eastern red cedar) is underway. Since 1999, over 1,000 volunteer hours have been logged to restore the native prairie.

What to See: Plants

Plant species at Folsom Point include your typical array of Loess Hills prairie species, including skeletonweed and nine anther dalea. Other species include windflower (or thimbleweed), heath aster, silky aster, side-oats grama and cut leaf ironplant.

What to See: Animals

The preserve provides refuge for several rare animals, including the ornate box turtle, bobcat and several species of butterfly: the regal fritillary, Ottoe skipper, southern and northern Leonard's skipper and Leonardus skipper.

Preserve Visitation Guidelines