It’s easy to understand why this prairie was named Makoce Washte, which means “beautiful earth.” From the violet blues of the pasqueflower in April to the purple mid-summer tint of the leadplant to the white petals of the tall white aster in October, it always is in bloom.
This small preserve stands in stark contrast to the farmland surrounding it. Its rich diversity of plant life is a genetic storehouse.
From the intersection of Interstate 29 and Highway 42, which is at 12th Street in Sioux Falls, travel 9.5 miles west on 42. Turn north on the gravel road and go one-half mile. The preserve is on east side of the road. A large wooden sign is located in the southwest corner of the preserve, and parking space is available.
Plan Your Visit
For more information on visiting this and other South Dakota preserves, check out our Preserve Visitation Guidelines.
The many blooms of the wildflowers found here span from white to pale blue to bright, flaming red. In June, for example, there are about 30 plants in bloom. This profusion of color would include the delicate pink petals of the wild rose, the bluish pale spike lobelia and the vibrant purple of blazing star.
The preserve is home to bobolinks, meadowlarks and other common grassland nesting species. Its small size however limits its ability to provide the necessary habitat components most grassland bird species need to survive. Butterflies and small mammals are common, and the occasional badger still frequents the preserve.
Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
Makoce Washte provided an opportunity for the Conservancy to preserve and protect a land that sustained many rare species, such as the regal fritillary and Ottoe skipper butterflies.
What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
For more than 20 years, the Conservancy has encouraged a variety of research at this site, ranging from the feeding habits of small mammals to the life cycles of flowering plants. This work has furthered our understanding of many of the plans and animals that make up a prairie community.