Talk:Great Plains

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Ecoregions of the Great Plains[edit]

I'm sorry but that map is pure rubbish. The Ozark Foothills, Ouchitas Mountains and the Cross Timbers of eastern Oklahoma are not tall grass prairies. The Great plains end once you reach the cross timbers region in central Oklahoma. In fact that map of the great plains is also incorrect. They do not extend that far east in Oklahoma. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Kryan74 (talkcontribs) 21:30, 13 September 2016 (UTC)


Umm, what's the difference between "all or part" of Colorado (for instance) being in the Great Plains, and "much of" Iowa being in the same? This seems to be a distinction without a difference. If nobody objects, I'm just going to add Iowa, Minnesota, and Manitoba to the main list. john k 21:06, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

I removed Iowa and Minnesota and added Manitoba to the main list. While the southwest corner of Manitoba is arguably part of the Great Plains, there's *no* part of Iowa or Minnesota that's part of the Great Plains when defined as a land region; these states are also not generally considered part of Great Plains when defined as a human geography region. A map from the Center for Great Plains Studies (which uses a fairly expansive Plains definition) does not include those states either. – Swid (talk | edits) 02:15, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

First peoples, Natural features?[edit]

Why talk about the great plains without discussing more than in passing its climate, ecosystems, and history except as part of the USA? If that's true of all the American regions articles, that isn't very encyclopaedic. Climatologists please contribute! Ewjw 07:34, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

Great Plains in MN[edit]

Considering the article on Minnesota states that the Great Plains biome converges with two other distinct biomes, it should be included as a partial "Great Plains State". The southwestern portion of the state definately fits the climate and landscape typical of any other plains state. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

A biome is a distinct (but related) concept from a land region; it's also possible that the information in the Minnesota article is incorrect. I've removed MN from the article for the time being. – Swid (talk | edits) 20:59, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Southwestern MN gets much more rainfall than, say, western South Dakota or western Kansas. The area around Kadoka is quite a bit different than the area around Worthington. AlexiusHoratius 20:14, 3 September 2007 (UTC)
Further discussion of this point can be found at Talk:Minnesota/Archive_4#Biomes. Definitions differ; compare Encarta's article on the Great Plains (which includes Minnesota) with this article from the Geological Survey Bulletin (which excludes it). Southest Minnesota at the Coteau des Prairies especially has many of the characterics. But as mentioned above the Minnesota article no longer makes the claim. Kablammo (talk) 16:30, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

online sources[edit]

I have tried to find more information in order to extend this article, but have found very few reliable ones. User:Martian45

this might be a good place to start, if you hadn't checked already. --W.marsh 18:46, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

According to the US census bureau Iowa is a Great Plains state: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:59, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

The problem with what you said there is that while Iowa (and also Minnesota and Missouri) are indeed sometimes called Great Plains states, none of the actual Great Plains lie in those states. It's an artifact of the way that people divide the Midwest for convenience into "Great Lakes" and "Great Plains" states, when Iowa is clearly "none of the above." There might be a place in the article for mentioning this problem, but I'm not the guy who should write it. (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 00:07, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

re: "does not represent a worldwide view"[edit]

Unless someone can support the reason for this tag, I suggest that it is unnecessary. This entry is clear and concise, it contains much of the basic information a reader might be interested in if they were unfamiliar with the term "Great Plains" as it applies to a large region in North America, and I cannot determine why it is considered "biased." —Preceding unsigned comment added by Staypuft9 (talkcontribs) 15:29, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

It's a geographic region that is a major part of canadian georgraphy, yet the map used depicts only the united states in its entirety, and cuts off the northern tip of the great plains. - TheMightyQuill (talk) 18:57, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
If someone has a map of what comprises the Great Plains in Canada, I'll be happy to update the map used here. For what it's worth, much of the geographic information in the Canadian Prairies article could be moved or reproduced here; from my limited understanding, "Canadian Prairies" has stronger social and political connotations than "Great Plains" does in the United States. – Swid (talk · edits) 22:14, 15 September 2008 (UTC)whatever

Iowa is Great Plains State[edit] (talk) 01:11, 17 April 2009 (UTC)It confounds me that prairie states like Iowa, Illinois, southern Minnesota, and much of Missouri are not included in some academic's definition of a plains state. Thus, this site is providing a great disservice to residents of those states and others that are indeed plains states and are not being included. The Great Plains do not begin at the Missouri River or the Missouri-Kansas stateline, no matter how convenient that may be. The buffalo roamed throughout the Midwestern plains, including the plains states of Iowa and Illinois, across the vast prairie and what early pioneers called the Great Plains. Pioneers did not look at Nebraska and say the Plains start here. This site is wholly inaccurate, not to mention subjective and biased.

Umm, no it's not. In fact, I have problems with the map featured in the article for extending too far east! The easternmost parts of the Frontier Strip: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas most certainly are not in the Great Plains. These regions---and those to the east of them, including Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, et. al.---are the Central Lowland, which, together with the Great Plains, make up the larger unit called the Interior Lowland. I should know; I've lived in the eastern part of one of the first 4 states I named for all my life, and almost everyone here knows that the Great Plains are farther west. (talk) 23:11, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
The problem here is that there are many, many interpretations on where the Great Plains really lie. I generally follow the map set up by Walter Prescott Webb "The Great Plains" but that doesn't mean I'm right. I'd like to see more explanation on why we change the map because of academic research instead of personal intuition

In response to the above, unsigned comments -

It seems that most of you take issue with the eastern boundary of the Great Plains as depicted on the map. In fact, it is true that pioneers did not look at Nebraska and say, "here is where the plains begin!" However, the United States Government did not incorporate this area until much later, unlike places like Illinois, which were settled earlier in history. When places like Nebraska and the Dakotas were formally settled by "pioneers" as you say, they were settled AFTER railroads crossed the region. Likewise, these places have very distinct histories and human geographies from their eastern neighbors. Look at how smaller towns are spaced out in central Nebraska v. central Iowa or Illinois. This is not merely a consequence of more people in an area, it is a product of the historical context of these settlements.

So please, understand that "The Great Plains" is merely an imagined place. It is nearly impossible to delineate its boundaries based upon distinct physical differences in the natural landscape, as this "difference" occurs as a gradient rather than along a specific line. Moreover, academic experts studied literally hundreds of historical maps of the region to produce the end product seen in books like the Atlas of the Great Plains or in Wishart's Encyclopedia of the Great Plains (cited in this article). That is why we do not merely change the article's map according to "intuition" as one poster suggests. The issue of the map would never be settled under those conditions. Similarly, what is considered "Great Lakes" or "Midwest" relies upon historical boundaries associated with the Northwest Territory, rather than distinct physical unity throughout the region. So, I think it's a bit silly for some of you to suggest Illinoisans or Wisconsinites would consider themselves "plains" people. Not at all. These folks, just like those on the Great Plains, are drawing from both physical geography AND human history to construct their sense of place.

Rob Shepard (talk) 17:56, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

Photo choices[edit]

I don't feel that these photographs are descriptive of the overall Great Plains region. Any page visitor would consider the entire landscape nearly completely barren and devoid of trees when there are hilly regions (the Black Hills of course), marshlands, riverland, etc. If I weren't from the region I'd consider it from the photographs to be abandoned, dusty and empty. I hope the photo reviewers do a better job when allowing photographs to the page in the future. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Plainsman360 (talkcontribs) 03:42, 26 December 2010 (UTC)

I agree. Prairie grass does not cover the entire state of Oklahoma as the map suggests.The boundaries map wipes out the Ouchitas, Ozark and Arbuckle mountain ranges. Also, the map of the great plains is incorrect. The plains do not cover that much of Oklahoma. This is the correct map. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Kryan74 (talkcontribs) 22:47, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

If the article is about the Great Plains, and the Great Plains continue into Canada, why does the photo cut off the portion in Canada? And why does the suggested photo also cut off the plain's range in Canada? - Eric — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:55, 30 October 2016 (UTC)

Plains vs. Prairies[edit]

A plain is a topographical feature: flat land. A prairie is type of ecozone or bioregion featuring grasses and few trees. Most of North America's prairies occur on the plains, and most of the plains are naturally prairie, but they are not synonymous. Now in political geography, things are quite different: the Plains States are the in the US and the Prairie Provinces are in the Canada. But this article should focus on natural geography and leave human (esp. political) geography to the respective articles. --Kevlar (talkcontribs) 20:35, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

IOWA is West of the Mississippi[edit]

Ok, here's my thing the Great Plains are west of the Mississippi. Did the authors of this article realize that the Mississippi runs on the border of Iowa and Illinois? So why not Include Iowa in the Great Plains area? The wind whipping weather should qualify it for this classification if nothing else... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 16:56, 20 December 2014

"The wind whipping weather..." sorta fails WP:Reliable sources. Vsmith (talk) 18:52, 20 December 2014 (UTC)

Is/are the Great Plains plural?[edit]

The lede has been changed changed from "The Great Plains are" to "The Great Plains is". Whether to use "is" or "are" depends of whether "Great Plains" is considered plural. Myself, I don't know. Opinions, anyone? More importantly, sources? --A D Monroe III (talk) 17:24, 15 June 2015 (UTC)

I'd always seen it as is a single, grand unit, but it wouldn't do to call it "the Great Plain". You got me thinking on it now. If it was a distinct, well-defined area of flat land, then a person would call it a "plain", but when it's more of an ideal with ill-defined boundaries, it seems fitting to call it the "plains", even though it may be unbroken area of flat land. A man on a horse "sets out across the plains", referring to a large, vaguely bordered flat area ahead. A smaller flat area between two mountain ranges, and you'd say he was "setting out across the plain". Here's a thought...a single, unbroken piece of flat land you can see to the horizon would be called a "plain". A land fifty miles across, broken by various ranges of small hills and rivers, would be "plains", because there are several areas divided from each other. A huge area like the Great Plains certainly refers to a single unit, but one which is made up of numerous smaller plains. Maybe the word "Plains" refers to numerous smaller plains, but the actual "Great Plains" area is referring to one, vast geographical area. When you say "the Great Lakes", you refer to multiple, individual lakes. Alternatively, "the Great Plains" is referring to a single, unbroken region, which would thus make it singular. You call the area around the Great lakes "the Great Lakes region", but "the Great Plains" are just "the Great Plains". That said, I just don't like the sound of "the Great Plains is". It should be "are". I've never been able to "learn" English the scholarly way; I just kid of do it. And even though I consider them definitely singular in nature (we aren't taking about several Great Plains, but one vast geographic are, after all), I would prefer to use the "are". Perhaps it's not "proper", but it fits with the "s" in "Plains" better. Aren't you allowed to break these rules in certain circumstances? AnnaGoFast (talk) 02:48, 18 February 2016 (UTC)

Prairie vs Steppe?[edit]

It says that "the Great Plains are composed of prairie, steppe and grasslands"...what exactly is the difference between a prairie and a steppe? I looked at both articles, hoping it would become clear, but as far as I can tell "prairie" is just "Amerikin speek" for "steppe" (well, French-speak, I guess, since the Americans got the word from them). Doesn't that make saying "prairie and steppe" redundant? I've never heard of any steppe-land in the US. And technically, aren't both actually forms of grassland themselves"? AnnaGoFast (talk) 02:54, 18 February 2016 (UTC)

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