• 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 »

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?

Aerial photo of the Flint Hills at Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

Kansas was once the bed of a vast inland sea. The unique, stairstep landscape of the Flint Hills was formed through a process of differential erosion. Erosion washed away the soft shale layers and left the tougher layers of limestone and flint to form the hilltops and prominent benches.