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“Driftless” coming up on Prairie Sportsman

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Timber rattlesnakes.

Download a photo of timber rattlesnakes.

GRANITE FALLS, Minn. — Southeast Minnesota’s unique topography, rare wildlife and recreational opportunities will be featured on Prairie Sportsman’s “Driftless” episode that will air on Pioneer PBS Sunday, May 10, 7:30 p.m.; WDSE Saturday, May 16, 4 p.m.; tptLife Saturday, May 23, 12:30 p.m.; Lakeland PBS Saturday, June 13, 2:30 p.m.; and KSMQ Thursday, July 2, 7:30 p.m. It will also be broadcast on the MN Channel, which airs on all Minnesota PBS stations, Thursday, May 28 at midnight, 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Minnesota’s most dramatic topography is in the southeast, known as the Driftless Area because it escaped the flattening effects of the last ice age. The region features steep slopes and deep valleys carved from porous limestone that doesn’t hold bodies of water, so there are no lakes. The bluff prairies are being restored to their original habitat with fewer trees and more open rocky areas that support rare wildlife like timber rattlesnakes. Host Bret Amundson is out with the DNR’s Shawn Fritcher and finds several rattlesnakes out sunning themselves after coming out of hibernation.

In the next segment, the Prairie Sportsman crew goes deep into Mystery Cave to film features like stalactites, stalagmites and flowstone carved by water sinking and flowing through limestone for hundreds of thousands of years. Mystery Cave is the longest in Minnesota with 13 miles of discovered passageways, although there could be many more. The entrance at Forestville Mystery Cave State Park was discovered in 1937 by cave explorer Joe Petty.

The final segment features the Root River State Trail, built on the former Milwaukee Road railway. It starts in Fountain City and runs through the historic towns of Lanesboro, Whalan, Peterson, Rushford and Houston. Most of the scenic trail is relatively flat, except for a half mile of steep hills just west of Houston.

Prairie Sportsman celebrates our love of the outdoors – to hunt, fish and enjoy recreation provided by our vast resources of lakes, rivers, trails and grasslands – while promoting environmental stewardship.

About Prairie Sportsman

Prairie Sportsman’s team includes Cindy Dorn, producer/writer; Bret Amundson, host/editor; Dylan Curfman, editor/videographer and Max Grabow, assistant videographer/editor. The 2020 season is made possible by funding from the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, SafeBasements of Minnesota, GrandStay Hospitality, Diamond Willow, Live Wide Open and Western Minnesota Prairie Waters.

About Pioneer PBS

Established in 1966, Pioneer PBS is an award-winning, viewer-supported television station dedicated to sharing local stories of the region with the world. For more information visit