Northwestern Minnesota, Becker County
From the town of Ulen, go east on County Road 34 for about 5.5 miles. County Road 34 undergoes a number change when it enters Becker County, becoming County Road 16. After 5.5 miles turn left (north) onto County Road 7 and head north for two miles. Turn left (west) onto County Road 18 for one-half mile to reach the southeast corner of the preserve, located to the north of the road. Park along the side of the road opposite the small landing strip.
This preserve is dominated by mesic tallgrass prairie, with some depressions and swales. Wet prairie is more adapted to the low areas with higher soil moisture caused by poorly drained soils containing silt and clay. These wet prairie areas often have a thick mat-like layer of dead vegetation covering the ground surface. Slough sedge and grasses such as prairie cordgrass dominate these wet zones.
Rare plants of interest found at Zimmerman are the single-spiked sedge and the small white lady-slipper. White-tailed deer and eastern cottontail rabbits have been known to feed on the buds and flowers of the white lady-slipper.
Grassland birds significantly use this preserve. A few species of note that nest within the prairie are the marbled godwit, upland sandpiper and the greater prairie chicken.
Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
Northern tallgrass prairie is one of the rarest ecosystems in North America. Once a vast sea of grasses and wildflowers, much of the remnant prairies have been converted to crop fields. Zimmerman Prairie preserves a small portion of unbroken tallgrass prairie. Many prairie plants and animals thrive at this unique site.
What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
Periodic controlled fire and mowing help keep brush and trees from invading and out competing the prairie wildflowers and grasses. Unfortunately, some introduced species are found on the site. Conservancy stewards are working to minimize their expansion and to reduce their impact on the native plants that have thrived here for centuries.