• 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 »

Park Planning

On November 12, 1996, legislation was passed creating Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in the Flint Hills region of Kansas. A superintendent was assigned to the site in February 1997. A General Management Plan (GMP) for the site was finalized on December 6, 2000, when the Acting Regional Director signed the Record of Decision.

The preserve protects a nationally significant example of the once vast tallgrass ecosystem. Of the 170 million acres of tallgrass prairie that once covered the North American continent, less than 4 percent remains, primarily in the Flint Hills of Kansas.

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is a new kind of national park. The preserve encompasses 10,894 acres, but most of that land will remain under the ownership of The Nature Conservancy, which purchased the land in 2005. The property was originally purchased by the National Park Trust in 1994. The National Park Service may own up to 180 acres, yet the legislation calls for the entire acreage to be managed cooperatively by the National Park Service and the private land owner.

On September 20, 2002, approximately 32 acres were donated to the National Park Service from the National Park Trust. This area includes the 1881 historic ranch house, limestone barn and outbuildings, and one-room schoolhouse.

The General Management Plan may be downloaded via pdf sections.

Section 1 (284 KB)

Section 2 (2.35 MB)

Section 3 (1.34 MB)

Section 4 (70 KB)

Section 5 (3.6 MB)

Appendices (138 KB)

Bibliography (37 KB)

List of Preparers (8 KB)

Further Planning Documents and Historical References

Strategic Plan for the future (48 KB)

Annual Performance Plan 2011 (74 KB)

Annual Performance Report 2011 (37 KB)

Legislative History 1920 - 1996
(follow the link) (Large file size)

Bison Management Plan Environmental Assessment (1.4 MB)

Scope of Collections Statement (2,188 KB)

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.