The Fulton Sand Prairie is an area of land that had much sand deposited there many millions of years ago.
This site contains 212 acres of sand prairie that is recovering from past grazing. Little bluestem, three-awn grass, plains prickly pear cactus and June grass are some of the common plants in the preserve. The big-flowered penstemon also occurs on this site. The preserve is also habitat for several unusual reptile species. The western hog-nosed snake, six lined racerunner and bullsnake are known to live here.
The area still grows this cactus which is very rare in this part of the country. It grows mostly in the south west. This tells scientists that this area was at one time much warmer. Apparently, over time, much of the top layers have worn away leaving the seeds of these cactus to now germinate and grow. They are a hardy species and very beautiful when in bloom. The bloom is always yellow.
You can find the cactus and Sand Prairie north of Fulton along Highway 84, across from the Great River Antiques Market.
From the intersection of Highway 84 and Highway 136 in Fulton, take Highway 84 north for 3 miles to a county road (Lock Rd.). Turn west on this road, cross the Great River Trail (was a railroad track bed), and turn north again on the narrow road that parallels the Great River Trail. Drive north on this road for 1.25 miles. The Sand Prairie Preserve is on the west side of the road.