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

    Tallgrass Prairie

    National Preserve Kansas

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Recent Aggressive Bison Behavior

    Bison have recently exhibited some aggressive behavior. Hikers are alerted. Hiking is still available with alternate trails around Windmill Pasture. If hiking through the pasture, please stay at least 100 yards away from the bison or turn around. More »

Water Quality

A healthy prairie pond

Water. We don’t give it much thought unless deprived of it. Our planet is easily two thirds water. The water that falls from the sky in the form of rain or snow eventually finds its way to rivers, streams, lakes and oceans. Always in motion, always connected. The water we use today will likely find its way back into this planet's massive aquifer. Water is constantly recycling, disappearing into the depths of the earth only to return thousands of years later in the form of a spring or seep.

Yet some areas of the planet including the United States go without naturally occurring water vapor for long periods of time, causing drought and in severe cases crop loss and famine. It happened in Kansas during the dust bowl era of the early 1930’s. And though this precious life giving liquid will hopefully purify itself naturally, a great responsibility of stewardship falls to all of us to keep water free of pollution.

At times in our quest for high-yielding commodities and economic sustainability we tend to compromise the quality of the water we might drink or use domestically. There is no perfect solution to this problem. There is, however, room for improvement regarding conservation of this rudiment necessity that sustains us all.

Consider this:

On average, we currently pay nearly as much for a gallon of purified drinking water as we do for a gallon of gasoline! As gasoline prices continue to rise, it would be less expensive to run our vehicles on water! Who knows what the future holds.

  • Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve encompasses numerous seeps and springs. Springs located above the ranch house gave the massive estate its first name; " The Spring Hill Ranch".
  • 26 ponds constructed as a water source for cattle also act as retention ponds for surface water runoff during storm events
  • There are several tributaries within the preserve that have variable flow and provide habitat to the endangered Topeka shiner.

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.