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National Georgraphic Lists Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve as one of America's Favorite Spots in our own Backyard

school03"The Flint Hills of Kansas are our ocean, our mountains, our mecca. . . You'll probably get lost on the unmarked, unpaved roads but allow yourself this adventure through rolling and endless ranchland dotted by countless wildflowers and exquisite prairie grasses anchored by the impressive big bluestem." - National Geographic

PRESS RELEASE
November 2, 2001

Washington D.C. - In National Geographic's Traveler's October 2001 Special Collector's Issue, National Geographic listed the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve as one of the top places in America to visit.

The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve (Preserve) is a 10,894-acre remnant of tallgrass prairie located in the heart of the Kansas Flint Hills. The Preserve is the only national park unit dedicated to preserving a rare remnant of the vast expanse of tallgrass prairie that once covered much of the central portion of North America.

Visitors to the Preserve can enjoy the experience of touring the historic Spring Hill Ranch headquarters. The 11-room house was built with hand cut native limestone, characteristic of the Second Empire style of 19th Century architecture. The Preserve also boasts a massive three-story barn and the Lower Fox Creek School, a one-room schoolhouse located on a nearby hilltop. The Preserve has a 1.75-mile nature trail, which presents marvelous vistas as well as an opportunity for a detailed look at the prairie ecosystem. Visitors can tour the vast rolling Flint Hills, once the hunting grounds of the Kansa and Osage Indians. In addition to the bookstore, the National Park Trust has recently expanded its resource center to help educate visitors on this important part of America's history.

National Geographic says, "The Flint Hills of Kansas are our ocean, our mountains, our mecca. . . You'll probably get lost on the unmarked, unpaved roads but allow yourself this adventure through rolling and endless ranchland dotted by countless wildflowers and exquisite prairie grasses anchored by the impressive big bluestem." The article also points out that nearby Cottonwood Falls is the best place in the state to get a steak and stay in an elite bed-and-breakfast. "We've always known that the Preserve was one of the unique hidden treasures of America," says Paul C. Pritchard, President of National Park Trust, "but we are honored by this tremendous commendation from National Geographic."

The historic Spring Hill Ranch was purchased by the National Park Trust in 1994 and was renamed the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve when it became a unit of the National Park System in 1996. This park unit is unique for several reasons one of them being that it is the only park unit authorized by Congress, on such a large scale, to be privately owned. In a first of its kind private/public partnership, the National Park Trust, a private nonprofit land conservancy, will retain ownership of all but 180 acres of the land that comprises the Preserve. However, the National Park Service is authorized to manage the entire 10,894-acre Preserve through a cooperative agreement with the Trust.

The National Park Trust is the only land conservancy uniquely dedicated to preserving America's national system of parks, wildlife refuges, and historical monuments. For more information on how you can visit the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, call (620) 273-8494 or visit our web site at www.parktrust.org.

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The entrance to Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is located two miles north of Strong City, Kansas on State Highway 177. For bus tour reservations and additional information, please call (620) 273-8494.

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For more information, contact:
Louise Carlin
Project Coordinator (PERC)
National Park Trust (NPT)
620-273-8139
louise@parktrust.org

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Founded in 1983, National Park Trust is the only land conservancy dedicated to preserving our national system of parks, wildlife and historic monuments.