Friday, April 29, 2016

I like those Wide Open Spaces !!

The way the prairie used to be has always fascinated us so, when we got near this Preserve, we stopped in for an hour or two. 

The visitor's center is terrific. Very educational as to what the Tall grasses are all about.

Terrific depiction of life in the Tallgrass. Badger, Greater prairie-chicken, Massasuga Rattlesnake, Jackrabbit, Red-tailed hawk, Show-on-the-mountain,  Pitcher sage, Aromatic aster, Indian grass, Dotted gayfeather, Ashy sunflower and Little bluestem

Tall grasses to the right, Mixed-grasses in the middle and Shortgrass on the left. This is how much there used to be. Now there is only 4% left...mostly at this park.

From there, you basically have three choices: one, go over to the old house of the previous owners, two, go visit the large stone barn or three, take a hike into the grass plains themselves. Kim went for one and two while I went for a hike up an back a hill.

Property Stephen Jones used his massive 60 x 110 foot barn to house animals, shelter equipment, and store the hay and grain that fed the livestock during the winter months. In 1885, Jones’ livestock numbered 200 swine, 30 horses, 8 milk cows, 4 mules, and hundreds of cattle foraging on the ranch’s prairie grasses. The barn, like other buildings on the ranch, was built into the side of the hill for natural insulation and access used to belong to a family that owned over 7,000 acres

Described in 1883 as “the best improved farm in Chase county,” the Spring Hill Farm and Stock Ranch became a showpiece for cattleman Stephen F. Jones and his wife Louisa.
In 1878, they came to Kansas from Colorado wishing to graze cattle on the “fine prairie grasses” of the Flint Hills and then ship them by rail to market in Kansas City. His ranch grew to 7,000 acres, specializing in Hereford, Durham, and Galloway cattle. During the 1880s, ranching was moving from open range to enclosed pasture grazing. Jones found an abundant supply of limestone on his ranch and built over 30 miles of stone fence as reported by the 1885 census.

The hikes are very relaxing but not that much to see....just those wide open spaces....

About the only flowers I saw on the trail

Trail heads off for another 7 thanks
heading back to the Visitor's Center

Movie showing expanse

As always, there's so much more than we can put in a short blog. Nice place to visit.

Steve and Kim

...for more information, you can go to these links:

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