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Huffman Prairie

This near-virgin tallgrass prairies is one of the finest in Ohio. The Wright brothers perfected powered flight, take-off, and landing technologies and skills at this prairie site, now located on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton.

Prairie Name

Huffman Prairie


Located on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, so special access routes must be used. From time to time, access is restricted because of Air Force activities on the adjacent air strip.

Exit SR 4 (NW of Dayton) eastbound on to SR 444. Then exit SR 44 at Gate 16a, on to Communications Boulevard. Turn left on the first unnamed drive. Turn left on Hebble Creek Rd. and then turn right onto Marl Rd. Proceed to the prairie.


Wright-Patterson Air Force Base

Prairie History

The Huffman Prairie was originally owned by Dayton banker Torrence Huffman, with whom the Wright’s had business connections. It was used as pasture. The Wright brothers began using the pasture for powered aircraft flights in 1904.

In 1917 the United States Army Signal Corps purchased the prairie, naming it and 2,000 adjacent acres Wilbur Wright Field. In 1948 the area was merged with the adjacent Patterson Field and is now the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

In recent years, the ecological value of the native prairie community has been recognized, and Five Rivers MetroParks staff have conducted botanical surveys and prescribed fires, restoring the prairie to full natural function and composition.


The prairie covers over 100 acres.

Prairie Description

The Huffman Prairie is a rather undisturbed, high-value prairie remnant in Mad River Prairie Fens Ohio Prairie Region (No. 7, here). It represents the unique edaphic (soil) conditions of the Mad River Prairies — alkaline (hence, “fen”) and well-drained but hydric soils.

Huffman Prairie was the discovery and type collection site in the 1830s for two important prairie forbs, Riddell’s goldenrod, Oligoneuron riddelli; and Ohio goldenrod, Oligoneuron ohioense.

Visitation Information

For specific visitation information, copy the map and info above, and/or contact the Huffman Prairie Interpretative Center home page at http://www.nps.gov/daav/index.htm or call 937 425 0008.

Be aware that the prairie (and adjacent historic flight field) are located within the fenced Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Access is normally open during daylight hours as described above, at Gate 16a on SR 444. But from time to time Air Force activities on the adjacent air strip will preclude public access.