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Kansas

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve


Introduction

The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is a public/private partnership with The Nature Conservancy and the National Park Service. This partnership is dedicated to preserving and enhancing a nationally significant remnant of the tallgrass prairie ecosystem and the processes that sustain it; preserving and interpreting the cultural resources of the preserve and the heritage associated with the former ranch property; and offering opportunities for education, inspiration and enjoyment through public access to its geological, ecological, scenic and historical features.

Size of the preserve

The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is nearly 11,000 acres.

Why The Nature Conservancy Selected the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

In 1996, Congress authorized a new public/private national park unit in the Flint Hills of Kansas, in order to provide a major missing element of the National Park System. By 2004, however, the preserve’s private partner had run into financial difficulty, to the extent that it appeared portions of the land would be sold to satisfy debt and other liabilities. The Nature Conservancy responded to a request by Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius to come to the aid of the nation’s only tallgrass prairie within the National Park System.

What The Nature Conservancy is Doing at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

Recently, The Nature Conservancy and the National Park Service reintroduced bison to the preserve. Thirteen bison were secured from Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota and shipped to start a small satellite herd at the preserve. These bison are first to roam the preserve in over a hundred years. Bison were traditionally a critical part of the tallgrass prairie ecosystem. The public is encouraged to the visit the preserve and welcome the new herd.

The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve will become a source of pride for Kansans and, indeed, a special destination for visitors worldwide.

Contact Information

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Strong City, KS
Tel: 620-273-8494; Fax: 620-273-8950; Email: tapr_interpretation@nps.gov

The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve seeks to preserve this great treasure and make it accessible to all visitors. The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, operated by the National Park Service, is open daily 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day. There are a total of 41 miles of hiking trails at the preserve. All trails are open daily. However, no camping is allowed.

Click here to download trail maps and information.

Fishing ponds are open to the public for catch and release fishing under the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Park's Fishing Impoundments and Stream Habitats program. The ponds are open during daylight hours year-round. A valid Kansas fishing license is required for anglers between the ages of 16 to 65.

Free prairie bus tours are available every day from April 30th to October 30th at 11:00 a.m.

Many see this parkland as a protected ecological landscape, others see it as a way to step back into history — but we have learned over the years that this park represents something for everyone. Whether you are a birdwatcher, a wildflower lover, a hiker or just an eternal student with an interest in history, archeology, ranching or architecture, this preserve will keep you busy. From the moment you step on the preserve, a spectacular panorama of hundreds of varieties of prairie grasses and colorful wildflowers unfold. You can find insects, lizards and snakes, and other wildlife such as deer, fox, bobcats and coyotes. Birds such as hawks, wild turkey, falcons, prairie chickens and a wide variety of grassland nesting birds are also present on the preserve.

Directions

The Preserve headquarters lies 2 miles north of Strong City, Kansas on Highway 177 (Flint Hills Scenic Byway), 18 miles west of Emporia, 16 miles south of Council Grove and 85 miles northeast of Wichita. The property is in close proximity to the Kansas Turnpike (I-35) with convenient highway access to three of Kansas’ largest metropolitan areas: Kansas City, Wichita and Topeka.

Discussion

Have you been to this preserve? Are you thinking of visiting? See what others are saying about their experiences and add your comments below.

Add Your Comments

Time for you to join the discussion. Tell us about your experience at this preserve. What plants and animals did you see? When did you go? You can help others plan their visit when you share your thoughts. And thank you for visiting one of our nature preserves!

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