July 14, 2012

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

The official dedication of the visitor center was July 13. This visit was done the day after.


The tallgrass prairie preserve is often still referred to as the Z-bar ranch (even though it has had other names over its history). It is now part of the National Park Service through a cooperative relationship with the Nature Conservancy.

This is a nice lithograph of what it looked like in the 1880s. I am always impressed by these early images of Kansas of how treeless the landscape really was. The lithograph has it right except that the retaining walls are spread farther out than is actually the case. The barn and the out-buildings are all still there.

The new visitor center is open, but not fully... There are larger plans to extend the exhibits. Right now, it's still pretty sparse.



The big old barn has always been impressive. It's too bad that the roof had to be done with these modern shingles.

Every barn needs a barn cat. It was a very hot day (over a hundred) so this cat had sense enough to curl around a cooling rock.



I took the trail that climbs behind the house and then continues along a ridge.


It's very easy walking.


Off in the distance you can see the school house that the trail eventually reaches.


Mostly, they only had to cut the grass to create a trail, but a few bridges are still needed.



Stopping at the old school, and then back to the front of the house.  Normally, the house is open for visitors, but I didn't check to see if it was open today.



last edit: 8/11/2012