Tallgrass prairie once covered 170 million acres of North America. Within a generation the vast majority was developed and plowed under. Today less than 4% remains, mostly in the Kansas Flint Hills. The preserve protects a nationally significant remnant of the once vast tallgrass prairie and its cultural resources. Here the tallgrass prairie makes its last stand.
Walking trails with bison. Historic limestone home, barn and school house. You can see the horizon in all directions. This makes a fantastic destination with other prairie cultural offerings in the area.
The Nebraska Sandhills, which encompass approximately 19,300 square miles of sand dunes stretching 265 miles across Nebraska, contain about 95% or 12.75 million acres of rangeland.
With dunes that are as high as 400 feet, as long as 20 miles, and slopes as steep as 25 percent, the Sandhills are the largest sand dune formations in the Western Hemisphere plus one of the largest grass-stabilized dune regions in the world. The large sand masses that were formed by blowing sand are now held in place and stabilized by vegetation that consists mainly of grasses.
Besides wildflowers, bird watchers will find much to see and hear – 150 bird species have been observed at the park, including many grassland specialists: dickcissel, Henslow’s sparrow, grasshopper sparrow, field sparrow, eastern meadowlark, and scissor-tailed flycatcher. In the winter northern harriers, a species of conservation concern, and short-eared owls are commonly seen. In the spring listen for the calls of the northern crawfish frog and the prairie mole cricket – both species of conservation concern. In the summer look for regal fritillary butterflies (a species of conservation concern) nectaring on wildflowers along with more than 20 other butterfly species. East Drywood Creek, an Outstanding State Resource Water, runs through the center of the natural area. Streams surrounded by prairie have lower concentrations of nutrients that can cause water quality problems than streams surrounded by row crops and fescue pasture.