Pet SafetyTo protect your pet and park wildlife, pets are not permitted in the backcountry. They are permitted on the Southwind Nature Trail, Bottomland Trail, and Fox Creek Trail. Pets may not be left unattended or tied off to any object. They must be on a leash at all times. Be aware that ticks are common in high grass.
WeatherCheck our current weather for safety measures you may take when visiting to the preserve.
AnimalsAnimals in the park are wild and unpredictable. Do not feed the wildlife. Feeding wild animals may lead to dependence on handouts and failure to survive the winter. They also become attracted to highways where they can be struck by passing vehicles.
All wildlife on the preserve are protected. Do not kill any wildlife in the park.
SnakesThe preserve is home to a few venomous snakes including the massasauga rattlesnake and copperhead. Watch where you walk. Only put your hands where you can see. Be cautious around rock walls, fences, and in tall grass. On occasion, a few rattlesnakes have been seen in the historic barn. Inform a staff member of any sightings within or around the buildings.
BisonWindmill Pasture (and sometimes West Traps Pasture) is home to the preserve's bison. Some hiking trails bisect the bison area. Please do not attempt close contact or petting the bison. Bison often appear docile but will attack when threatened. Please keep 125 yards distance when hiking.
Bison moods have warning signs. The bison's tail position is like a weathervane. A tail hanging loosely indicates the animal is relaxed. If partially raised, the bison is alert. The bison is excited with a horizontal tail. A tail raised upward is a warning; the bison is in a combative posture and may be ready to charge. Bison can run 35 mph and may weigh a ton. Never turn your back on a bison.
The bison is North America's largest grazing animal, numbering 30 to 60 million prior to European and American settlement. Bison at one time grazed throughout the Flint Hills region, helping to sustain not only the landscape, but also the American Indian population for thousands of years.
Last updated: July 4, 2021