MPF’s Stilwell Prairie is on a ridgetop with views of the Little Osage River and the Marmaton River valleys. Photo: Scott Lenharth

Stilwell Prairie

About Stilwell Prairie

In 1995 the Kansas City Southern Railroad donated 376 acres in Vernon County to MPF. The site is named for Arthur Stilwell, founder of the railroad that forms the western boundary of the site. Stilwell Prairie is situated on a ridgetop with views of the Little Osage River Valley to the north and the Marmaton River Valley to the south. 

MPF’s Stilwell Prairie is open for public youth hunting and fishing through the Missouri Recreational Access Program (MRAP). Read about MRAP, and rules to participate here.

Stilwell Prairie contains two state-imperiled community types tracked by the Missouri Natural Heritage Database: dry-mesic limestone/dolomite and dry-mesic sandstone/shale prairie natural communities, as well as more than 325 native plant species, including the federally threatened Mead’s milkweed (Asclepias meadii). Approximately 117 acres of Stilwell is intact, original prairie, and the remainder is in varying stages of restoration. Much activity, involving removal of woody growth, and introduction of native grasses and forbs in restoration areas, is moving MPF closer to its goal of complete restoration of native grassland habitat of the site, which will benefit grassland birds as well as many other species of grassland animals and prairie-dependent native plants.

2019 Missouri River Bird Observatory Breeding Bird Surveys on MPF Properties (includes Stilwell Prairie)

2019 Institute of Botanical Graining Floristic Integrity Report (includes Stilwell Prairie)

Report on bees found at Golden and Stilwell Prairies


Stilwell Prairie is in Vernon County on CR 500, 1 mile east of Richards on Route H and then 1 mile north on CR 500. Parking is available by the gated entrance at the intersection of CR 500 and Indian Line Road. By GPS, N37 55.723 W94 32.510 (in decimal degrees, 37.92872 -94.54184).

More Ways to Give

For over 55 years, the Missouri Prairie Foundation has been conserving Missouri’s prairies and other native grasslands. Donate now to help conserve prairie in Missouri, one of the most imperiled, beautiful, and biologically diverse habitat types on earth. Donate, become a member, and find other ways to support our work. 


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