Shuffletown Prairie Nature Preserve
Although just 18.1 acres in size this small preserve is extremely important, as it protects what may be the best Piedmont Prairie remnant in the Carolinas.
Location and Directions
Shuffletown Prairie is located in northwestern Mecklenburg County within a power line right-of-way. The preserve lies west of Rozzelle’s Ferry Road, north of Winding River Road, and south of Hart Road.
From I-485, take the Hwy 16/Brookshire Blvd. exit. Go north on Brookshire to the next traffic light. This is Mt. Holly-Huntersville Rd. Go left on Mt. Holly-Huntersville and proceed 0.5 miles to Rozzelle’s Ferry Rd. Turn right and go approximately 0.3 miles to Winding River Rd. Turn left and proceed 0.1 mile. The prairie remnant is on your right under the power line. Due to the presence of endangered species, there is no public access.
History and Description
This is the smallest of the Mecklenburg County Nature Preserves at 18.1 acres. Although small, this preserve is extremely important. The remnant prairie has been called the best in the Carolinas by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This prairie remnant has survived partly from disturbance, as management of the power line right-of-way has suppressed competitive woody shrubs and trees. Continued management that removes new woody growth is necessary or the rare plants present could decline and eventually disappear.
Flora and Fauna
Species of Note
Documented rare plants include: Schweinitz’s sunflower (Helianthus schweintzii), smooth purple coneflower (Echinacea laevigata), Michaux’s sumac (Rhus michauxii), manfreda (Manfreda virginica), Georgia aster (Symphyotrichum georgianum), and starry rosinweed (Silphium asteriscus var. dentatum). Locally rare plants include: rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium).
Documented invasive-exotic plant threats include: sericea lespedeza (Lespedeza cuneata) and multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora).
Documented rare animals and animal species of conservation concern include: sharp-shinned hawk (Accipiter striatus) – a fauna inventory has not yet been conducted on this property.
All of Shuffletown Prairie Nature Preserve has been designated as a Natural Heritage Site. Environmental features of significance include what is considered perhaps the best example of a Piedmont Prairie habitat remnant in North or South Carolina. Two federally-listed and one candidate plant species occur at the site: Schweinitz’s sunflower (Helianthus schweinitzii), smooth purple coneflower (Echinacea laevigata), and Georgia aster (Symphyotrichum georgianum - candidate for listing). Two additional rare plants at the preserve that are on the state Watch List include manfreda (Manfreda virginica) and starry rosinweed (Silphium asteriscus var. dentatum). This prairie remnant within the preserve occurs on 10 acres of maintained power line ROW.
There are no known cultural or historical resources within the preserve.