Flash Back Friday – TALLGRASS PRAIRIE NATIONAL PRESERVE – A Cool Fall Morning Visit



Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

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Welcome to Flashback Friday – Where we share previously published articles which were reader favorites. Hope you enjoy this Friday’s article, originally published in 2013.


Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

A Cool Fall Morning Visit

Much of North America, around 400,000 square miles or so, was once covered by tallgrass prairie lands. Fast forward to today and you find that less than 4 % of that prairie land remains. Kansas is home to 10,861 of those remaining acres of tallgrass prairie.  The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is located in the Flint Hills area of Kansas near Cottonwood Falls and two miles north of  Strong City on Highway 177.  The preserve is a joint effort of the National Park Service and the Nature Conservancy. The site offers visitors the opportunity to get a sense of life on the prairie in an earlier time.  Vistas of rolling prairie grasslands are punctuated by roaming buffalo. The original Z Bar Ranch House and outbuildings, including a huge limestone barn, sit on the eastern edge of the preserve and are open to the public.  Nearby, the old one room schoolhouse is a reminder of a simpler time.

Recently I joined several other photographers for an early fall outing to the preserve.  We arrived shortly after dawn on a rather chilly morning.  Everything was covered with a lovely (but cool)  light layer of frost.

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The frost quickly melted into tiny reflective water droplets, shimmering with the morning sun shining through.

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It was chilly walking through the fields and paths. As the day warmed,  with the rising sun, the photography experience became more pleasant. (Full Disclosure – I am NOT a cold weather photographer!)

Looking westward across the preserve the prairie spreads out affording an unobstructed view to the horizon west of highway 177.

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Standing lone lookout atop one of the hills near the Z Bar Ranch is the old one room school house.

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The  prairie is home to a variety of types of grasses with multiple colors and textures.. Some do indeed get tall – hence the name Tallgrass Prairie.


I’m a bit on the tall side – about 6 ft. 4 inches.  As you can see – some of this grass does get rather tall!


This area of Kansas is an easy drive from both Kansas City and Wichita and offers lots of opportunities for interesting photography.  Cottonwood Falls is the county seat of Chase County, Kansas and has a classic and beautiful stone courthouse.  The delightful and friendly small town is a great place to grab a nice lunch before leaving the prairie land and heading back to the city.

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Visit The Kansas Prairie …………. And Enjoy The Adventure!


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© 2017, Bruce W Bean, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

Photographing and wandering the world - close to home and far away. Enjoying life's adventure.
Bruce W Bean, Ph.D