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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Near Ekalaka in Carter County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)
 

Prairie Island

 
 
Prairie Island Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 12, 2020
1. Prairie Island Marker
Inscription.  With prairie stretching toward the horizon in nearly every direction, Medicine Rocks seem like a tiny "island" in a vast, grassy sea.
Indeed, the rocky buttes, spires and columns stand tall above the prairie junegrass, little bluestem and needle-and-thread. But sandstone and its accompanying sandy soils also provide a niche, or place, for pants not found everywhere in a short-grass prairie ecosystem.
Flowering plants such as silky prairie clover, Schweinitz' flatsedge and plains phlox are considered rare in Montana because they grow only in places with loose, sandy soils, and often near sandstone outcrops. Protecting the park helps ensure these species remain on the prairie for generations to come.

(side-bar on the right:)
Hardy Residents
When you think of the prairie, you probably imagine hot summers, cold winters, little moisture and lots of wind - certainly not a place for the faint-hearted. But around 250 plants - from trees and shrubs to herbs and mosses - have adapted to, and even thrive in, the harsh environment of Medicine Rocks.

Blue grama (at right)
This
Prairie Island Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 12, 2020
2. Prairie Island Marker
grass has a dense, shallow root system that secures it to the soil and deadly absorbs any rainfall.
Chokecherry
The twigs of this shrub serve as a crucial source of protein for mule deer during winter.
Narrow-leafed purple coneflower
American Indians collected this flowering herb, also called echinacea, and used it to fight infectious diseases.
Ponderosa pine
This hardy tree can grow on top of sandstone because its roots reach down to the soil through crevices in the rock.
Pottery milkvetch
The large seed pods of this sandy soil-loving plant resemble egg-shaped balloons freckled with red, purple or green.
 
Erected by Medicine Rocks State Park.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Natural FeaturesParks & Recreational Areas.
 
Location. 46° 2.631′ N, 104° 28.529′ W. Marker is near Ekalaka, Montana, in Carter County. Marker is on Park Entrance Road near State Highway 7, on the right when traveling west. The marker is in Medicine Rock State Park. It is on a trail leading north off of Entrance Park Road. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Ekalaka MT 59324, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 6 other markers are within 12 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Inyan-oka-la-ka (approx. ¼ mile
M image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 12, 2020
3. M
away); A River Ran Through It (approx. 0.4 miles away); Home on the Range (approx. 0.6 miles away); A Fantastically Beautiful Place: The Medicine Rocks (approx. 0.8 miles away); Ekalaka (approx. 10.1 miles away); First National Bank of Ekalaka/Rickard Hardware Building (approx. 11.2 miles away).
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 12, 2021. It was originally submitted on January 12, 2021, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 31 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on January 12, 2021, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.
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Mar. 8, 2021