Natural Resource Condition Assessments for Fort Larned National Historic Site

A wooden mail wagon sits in the middle of a field.
The U.S. Army Mail Wagon.

Nathan King/NPS photo.

Fort Larned National Historic Site is located in southern Kansas along the Santa Fe Trail. Historically, the fort was an area for friendly interaction between Native Americans and non-native people before and after the Civil War.

Today, Fort Larned National Historic Site contains nine original sandstone structures and a reconstructed block house along the Pawnee River eight miles above the confluence with the Arkansas River. The prairie here once stretched from one horizon to the other, supporting prairie dogs, pronghorns, wolves, elk, grizzly bears, and vast herds of bison. In turn, these plants and animals supported the people who lived on this land, including the Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Kiowa. In the generations that have passed, the land has changed dramatically with agriculture and development.

Traditional NRCA Report: 2014

In an effort to better understand the natural resources and processes present in this site, a Natural Resource Condition Assessment was conducted and published in 2014. National Park Service representatives examined the park’s needs and available data, and chose 12 resource topics to evaluate:

- Viewshed

- Groundwater

- Night sky

- Riparian habitat

- Soundscape

- Grasslands

- Air quality

- Exotic plants

- Geology

- Breeding landbirds

- Surface water quality

- Black-tailed prairie dog

Overall, the conditions of these resource topics were of moderate to significant concern. One resource topic (breeding landbirds) was given a good condition status; six resource topics (viewshed, night sky, soundscape, air quality, geology, and prairie dog) were given a condition status of moderate concern; four resource topics (groundwater, riparian habitat, grasslands, and exotic plants) were given a condition status of significant concern; and one resource topic (surface water) was not assigned a condition status due to lack of baseline data. The natural resources within Fort Larned National Historic Site will continue to be managed to preserve areas of archeological and ethnological interest, and to protect scenic, scientific, natural, and historic values.

For other reports and natural resource datasets visit the NPS Data Store.

Source: Data Store Collection 7765 (results presented are a subset). To search for additional information, visit the Data Store.

Last updated: February 25, 2022


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