Local lore has it that the abundant numbers of bunchflower (Melanthium virginicum) at Snowball Hill Prairie may have given this prairie its name. Photo: Bruce Schuette
Snowball Hill Prairie
About Snowball Hill Prairie
This 22-acre, original, unplowed prairie, within a 74-acre tract, was acquired and saved in 2015 by the Platte Land Trust and MPF, and is owned by MPF. Numerous donations to MPF, including a significant gift from the Platte Land Trust, made the acquisition possible. The prairie is named for the isolated hill on which the prairie occurs. Snowball Hill Prairie ranges from dry-mesic limestone/dolomite prairie on the hilltop to mesic prairie on the lower slope and wet-mesic prairie at the bottom. There is also a rare prairie swale natural community at this site.
In Cass County, just outside of Harrisonville, Snowball Hill Prairie is one of the last remaining original prairies remaining in the Greater Kansas City region. From 2017 to 2020, MPF carried out prairie reconstruction on the 52 acres of land adjacent to the original prairie, using seeds collected from the remnant, as well as thousands of small plants grown from seed collected on site.
A total of 213 native plant species have been recorded at Snowball Hill Prairie with an average native CC value of 4.98 (the highest of any MPF prairie), including 49 conservative species. Five rare species have been found on Snowball Hill Prairie, including the federally threatened Mead’s milkweed (Asclepias meadii), the auriculate false foxglove (Agalinis auriculata), two grasses, and one rush. The prairie specialist golden byssus skipper (Problema byssus), has been found here during butterfly counts conducted by members of the Idalia Society, and members of the Burroughs Audubon Chapter document birds here annually.
2019 Missouri River Bird Observatory Breeding Bird Surveys on MPF Properties (includes Snowball Hill Prairie)
2018 Institute of Botanical Training Floristic Integrity Report (includes Snowball Prairie)
Safety Notice: Please be advised that there is an active railroad line on the property. Do not walk on or over the railroad, and cross tracks only at the roadway crossing. See MODOT’s Safety Tips for more information.
Snowball Hill Prairie is located just west of I 49 south of Harrisonville. Take exit 157 and turn west to follow 275th Street, when you come to the stop sign at the T, turn left (Brickplant Rd.), cross the railroad tracks and just a short distance you will see South Belle Plain Rd on the left and the turn into Snowball Hill prairie on the right. A parking lot is located on the right, in the southwestern corner of the property. The “address” is 19866 E. 275th St. Use GPS N38 37.082 W94 22.000 (in decimal degrees, 38.61803 -094.36666).