Cimarron National Grassland

Quick Facts

Cimarron National Grassland

Kansas

(719) 553-1400

Map

Things To Do

   

Overview

The Cimarron National Grassland is composed of 108,175 acres just north of Elkhart, Kansas. The grassland is the largest public land area in Kansas and provides recreational opportunities for the residents of Elkhart and visitors from across the country. The Cimarron National Grassland is a popular hunting destination and the District receives regular walk-in visitor inquires.

Over 100 years ago, the land of Cimarron National Grassland was a cattle ranch known as Point of Rocks Ranch, operated by the Beaty brothers. This was the first permanent settlement in the area. Around 1885, homesteaders began to settle in this area as well. The rolling grassland was turned into a sea of wheat and other grains.

Years of cattle grazing and farming, followed by a drought, degraded the soils and made them unproductive. By the 1930s many acres were barren. The strong winds that blow across the prairie swept up the loose soil, creating huge dust and sand storms. This area was part of the Dust Bowl, an area that covered parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, named for the great dust storms. Morton County, where part of Cimarron National Grassland is, was one of the most devastated areas. The U.S. government wanted to stabilize the soil so the land could be used again for agriculture. Healthy grasslands reduce soil erosion and water runoff and provide a dependable supply of summer forage for livestock and wildlife. The U.S. Congress approved the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act in 1937, allowing the government to buy some of this unproductive land with loose soil. The land was first administered by the U.S. Soil Conservation Service and in 1954 was turned over to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service. The former Point of Rocks Ranch became Cimarron National Grassland in 1960. It is the largest tract of public land in Kansas.

Cimarron National Grassland is now a mixed-grass and shortgrass prairie. Riparian plant communities occur along the Cimarron River. This section of Kansas is at the heart of a major bird migration route. The surrounding land is primiarly agricultural, so Cimarron National Grassland serves as an important wintering island for birds.

Map of Cimarron Grassland

Latitude, Longitude: 37.133340, -101.797960

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Activities

  • Bird Watching

    This section of Kansas is at the heart of a major bird migration route. The surrounding land is primiarly agricultural, so Cimarron National Grassland serves as an important wintering island for birds. A Lesser Prairie Chicken viewing area with two blinds is available to visitors.

  • Hunting

    The Cimarron National Grassland is a popular hunting destination and the District receives regular walk-in visitor inquires.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(719) 553-1400

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