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McBride Arboretum Autochthonous Prairie

The McBride Arboretum Autochthonous Prairie, on the campus of Bowling Green State University – Firelands, at Huron, is a repository of local Firelands Prairie genotypes and ecotypes, established on local prairie soils.


Prairie Name

McBride Arboretum Autochthonous Prairie


This genetically- and ecologically-important prairie restoration is on the James H. McBride Arboretum, on the campus of Bowling Green State University, Firelands Campus, at Huron, Ohio. The prairie is west of the Cedar Point Center building, with parking off Rye Beach Road in front of the Cedar Point Center. It is a major repository of local Firelands Prairie plant species (see Ohio Prairie Regions).


The prairie is owned by Bowling Green State University, managed by Erie MetroParks, which manages and maintains the James H. McBride Arboretum on the BGSU Firelands campus.

Prairie History

This prairie restoration was created by John Blakeman in the early 1980s, using seeds exclusively collected from local Firelands Prairie prairie remnants. An even earlier, but smaller, local autochthonous restoration by Blakeman is located elsewhere on the arboretum.

Over 75 species of local prairie plants have been planted in this prairie, either by direct seeding, or by transplantation. The prairie has been burned each spring.

Seeds collected from this site have been used in other Firelands Prairie restorations, maintaining local genotypes and ecotypes.


The prairie, in two curvilinear islands, is approximately one-fifth of an acre.

Prairie Description

This unique prairie was created to preserve and maintain unique local prairie species genotypes and ecotypes, on original Firelands Prairie soil. The site was open tallgrass prairie at the time of settlement.

It has a very deep, dark prairie soil, clayey in texture, with a pH of about 7.3; typical of local Firelands Prairie soils formed by prairie processes on the flat, alkaline Lake Plain of the region.

The first autochthonous prairie planting at the McBride Arboretum at BGSU Firelands is among the oldest authentic prairie restorations in Ohio, dating from 1972-73. Plantings in both areas have been scrupulously confined to seeds and transplants collected from the Firelands Prairie.

Visitation Information

Parking is convenient at the Cedar Point Center. The prairie is behind the Center, to the west.