Reminder, Bison Are Wild Animals
Windmill Pasture is home to the bison herd. They have been quite active in recent weeks. Please stay on the trails and use caution in their vicinity. Do not come in close contact with the bison. Allow at least 100 yards between you and the herd. More »
Handicap Parking Available at Visitor Center
For the next several months, the handicap parking area by the barn is closed until the barn construction project is complete. Handicap parking is available at the Visitor Center.
Nature & Science
"We shall never achieve harmony with land, any more than we shall achieve absolute justice or liberty for people. In these higher aspirations the important thing is not to achieve, but to strive."
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve was established in 1996. It is the only unit of the National Park System dedicated to the rich natural and cultural history of the tallgrass prairie ecosystem. This 10,894 acre portion of the once vast tallgrass prairie is being preserved as a critical resource for the benefit, education, and enjoyment of this and future generations. It is a unique private/public partnership between the National Park Service (the primary land manager) and The Nature Conservancy (the primary landowner).
Learn About Recent Natural Resource Issues
Bison Fact Sheet - (280 KB)
In prehistory, what is now a sea of grass, was once a shallow sea of water. Two hundred to 300 million years ago the gray and white rock limestone and steel tough chert commonly called "flint" began to form from this Permian Sea floor and the famous Flint Hills geology. The result was shallow, rocky land considered unsuitable for plowing but excellent for pasture. The natural prairie cycle of weather, wildfires, and animal grazing -- once bison, now cattle -- has sustained the tallgrass prairie and its diverse plant and animal species ever since.
The National Park Service's Heartland Network Inventory and Monitoring Program and others have gathered baseline data on plant and animal communities on the preserve. Click on the hyperlink above to learn more about this program and its importance to the health of the prairie community.
The preserve holds an annual Marvin Schwilling Memorial Butterfly Count. See the results.
Did You Know?
Kansas is tied with Florida for 3rd place in most number of tornadoes per year. This tornado is actually a "smoke devil" spawned from annual spring prairie burns at the preserve. Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve