Visit the beautiful prairies of the South Puget Sound to see the multitude of animals and plants that call this habitat home! Once common in the South Puget Sound region, habitats such as prairies and oak woodlands are almost gone. Prairies and oak woodlands provide critical habitat for wildflowers, butterflies and birds. Today, only a tiny percentage of our native prairies remain. This includes grasslands, which are among the least protected and most threatened habitat in the world. Grasslands have supported human life for countless generation and provide much needed habitat for a variety of animals and plants.

The Nature Conservancy has worked to conserve these fragile habitats for nearly two decades and in 2011, transferred this program to the Center for Natural Lands Management. The Center, in close collaboration with partners, is working to continue efforts such as conserving native species, their habitats and functioning ecosystems. These efforts include working on establishing a network of parks and preserves to safeguard these habitats and restoring historic prairies.

Learn more about our work in Puget Sound.

Washington state manages two large prairie habitats in the South Sound: Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve and the Scatter Creek Wildlife Area. Mima Mounds Area Preserve is a 637-acre natural area that contains the best remaining examples of the unique Mima Mounds. There is an interpretive trail, suitable for people with disabilities, which meanders through the mounds and prairie. It is open daily to the public. The Scatter Creek Wildlife Area is a 1,200-acre preserve offering a great prairie, oak woodland and a stream to visit. Either prairie habitat will provide hours of enjoyment, walking among the colorful wildflowers and butterflies!


Directions the Scatter Creek Wildlife Area

  • South of Olympia, take the I-5 exit for Littlerock and drive west one block, turning south onto Case Road. Turn right on 180th Street, which will lead you to the wildlife area parking lot.

Directions to Mima Mounds

  • South of Olympia, take the I-5 exit for Littlerock and drive 128th Avenue SW until it intersects with Waddell Creek Road. Turn right onto this road and the entrance to the Mima Mounds will be on the left.

Written by Noelle van deer Straaten, Volunteer.