Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Tallgrass Prairie of the Flint Hills

I made a drive the other day that ended up being about 400 miles by the time it was all said and done. I went from the industrial, downtown area of Kansas City...

 and ended up in the Flint Hills of Kansas.

The Konza Prairie just south of Manhattan, Kansas offers excellent hiking opportunities.  The rolling hills and gentle slopes of the area make for a wonderful day out.  Please be sure to pack out what you bring in.  There are numerous scientific studies being performed on the prairie, so please stay on the trail. OH!  No pets, bikes, or horses are allowed on the trails... and don't forget the minimal $2.00 trail fee at the trailhead... its worth the experience.

Further south on Highway 177, and a slight jog off the paved road, is the Fr. Padilla monument -

Further south on 177, and you come to the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve just north and a little west of Strong City, KS.

"The preserve protects a nationally significant example of the once vast tallgrass ecosystem. Of the 400,000 square miles of tallgrass prairie that once covered the North American Continent, less than 4 percent remains, primarily in the Flint Hills of Kansas.
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is a new kind of national park. The preserve is 10,861 acres, but most of that land will remain under the ownership of the Nature Conservancy, which purchased the land in 2005. The land was originally purchased by the National Park Trust in 1994. The National Park Service may own up to 180 acres, yet the legislation calls for the entire acreage to be managed cooperatively by the National Park Service and the private land owner.

On September 20, 2002, approximately 32 acres were donated to the National Park Service from the National Park Trust. This area includes the 1881 historic ranch house, limestone barn and outbuildings, and one-room schoolhouse." - Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve [National Park Service - US Dept of the Inerior]

Go to the Gallery - Tallgrass Prairie Gallery