Ka-ma-ma Prairie

192 acres in Adams County

Located in Meigs Township, just east of Steam Furnace Road lies a botanical and zoological paradise for native biodiversity. Ka-ma-ma Prairie offers two miles of hiking trails leading into cedar glades, prairie and forest. A recent acquisition of 6 acres along Steam Furnace Road provides the first public access to the preserve, which will hope to have open by spring, 2023.

A Short-Grass Prairie in Adams County. The region provides canvas for classic prairie open grasslands, cedar-dominated glades, light-shaded dry bluffs, and young forests composed of oaks, hickories and scrub pines. The grasslands have an unusual number of classic short-grass prairie species such as Little Bluestem, Prairie Dock, Rattlesnake Master, and False Gromwell. Showy wildflowers such as Yellow Lady-slipper, Hoary Puccoon, and Indian Paintbrush create colorful displays in season. Rare annuals of Draba and Leavenworthia species can be found growing in the thin powdery soils that lie along bluffs shaded by deciduous trees. The extremely rare Prairie Gentian was found here, and is one of only two known locations in the entire state.

A Haven for Wildlife. This preserve is not only high in plant species, but is profuse in wildlife. Chuck-will’s-widow, a more southern and savannah-oriented counterpart to the whippoorwill, can be heard each spring in sustainable numbers. Black Kingsnakes and Broad-headed Skinks are note-worthy reptiles documented on the property. Ka-ma-ma is a Cherokee word for butterfly, and the prairie has one of the highest butterfly counts in the state for its size, including the rare Cobweb Skipper, White Hairstreak, and Olive Hairstreak butterflies. Each summer the prairie is a mecca for butterfly watchers and butterfly researchers in Ohio.

Rare and Endangered Plants. Ka-ma-ma Prairie has an extremely high number of rare vascular plants species, claiming 43 state-listed species in total. Of these, 9 are endangered, 16 are threatened, and 18 are potentially threatened. An additional 42 species were listed previously in Ohio records as imperiled, making 85 species of its 515 total of special interest and rarity.

Ka-ma-ma Prairie Doubled in Size. In 2020, the Arc expanded Kamama Prairie with a 93-acre tract of forest to the east of the existing preserve. This acquisition provided for a natural forested buffer around the prairie epicenter. The expansion property shelters a healthy, intact oak-hickory forest growing on thin dolomite soils with a marked prairie influence in the forest understory. Scattered throughout the woodlands are cedar glades and prairie openings. This expansion was partially funded by Clean Ohio.

Colorful displays of showy wildflowers make Ka-ma-ma Prairie a treasured spring destination for nature lovers.
Hoary puccoon. Photo taken by Lewis Ulman at Kamama Prairie
Chuck-will’s-widow. Photo courtesy of John Howard.