There are approximately 483 acres of park land that have been disturbed by development or agricultural use prior to National Park Service ownership. The land was used either for cattle grazing or for irrigated crops or has been impacted by fire or exotic weed infestations. Four hundred (400) acres of the park on the south side of the Arkansas River were grazed even after the land was purchased by the government in 1979. Prior to 1979, the area supported a farmstead and a herd of cattle. The land on the north side of the Arkansas river was primarily used for raising crops. Currently, sixty-eight acres on the north side of the river are being restored to native grasses.
Did You Know?
Bent’s Fort was the only place on the Santa Fe Trail where wagons could be repaired and supplies replenished. Typically it would take 50 to 60 days or more for ox drawn wagons to make the 600 mile journey from Missouri. It would still be another month of travel before they reached Santa Fe.