• The setting sun over the Flint Hills casts shadows across the wide expanse of tallgrass prairie.

    Tallgrass Prairie

    National Preserve Kansas

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  • 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.

Prairies and Grasslands

The lush green prairie during warmer months.

Lungs of a Nation

No other ecosystem in America removes as much carbon from the atmosphere as prairie grasslands. Some carbon that is produced by our giant industrial complex is recycled into the fertile soils that have become a breadbasket for the entire world.

It is fascinating to note that 80% of prairie plant life is underground. Long tentacled root systems survive grazing, fire and flood to sprout each spring and renew an amazing cycle of life that due to its low lying subtlety is often over looked.

Less than 4 percent of this once vast prairie grassland survives today. The shallow soil from limestone parent material has kept this remaining portion intact. Farming was limited to bottomland areas along the drainages that lie between these subtle yet defined limestone hills and ridges. Though that larger portion of the tallgrass has been plowed and altered for agriculture, it is this Flint Hills remnant of prairie that continues to breathe and rejuvenate the air and land as it has for thousands of years.

Did You Know?

Grazing cattle at Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

Cattle can gain up to 2 pounds per day grazing on the prairie grasses of the Flint Hills. The calcium found in the limestone erodes into the soil, making the prairie plants more nutritious for grazing animals. Cattle grazing is still the main agricultural use of the Flint Hills today.