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Cheyenne Bottoms


Barton County  is located in the middle of the Central Flyway and has wetlands of international importance: Cheyenne Bottoms in northern Barton County and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge in Stafford County.  Cheyenne Bottoms has 41,000 acres in a natural basin 90 feet lower than the Arkansas River. Of this, approximately 20,000 acres is a wildlife management area administered by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. Over 300 different bird species have been viewed there including the whooping crane and bald eagle. Also a hunting and fishing area, it was originally a Cheyenne Indian hunting ground.

Both refuges have been accorded international recognition, not only because of their significance as feeding sites for migratory waterfowl and shorebirds, but also for the large nesting populations of water birds they harbor. Related to their world-class status is both the number of species and the number of individual birds that nest or pause to refuel there. Positioned as it is, Great Bend is poised to serve as a gateway port, introducing north- and southbound travelers to the avian riches that may be viewed at these refuges.


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The extraordinary value of these refuges lies in the fact that neither is simply a lake, a canal, a marsh, a flooded meadow, or a mudflat. Instead, each refuge is a mosaic of aquatic habitats –large, small, shallow, deep, salty, fresh, weedy, and open – combined into what is generally referred to as a wetland complex. This habitat diversity, its uniqueness compared to the surrounding farmland, the size, the variety and quality of species, and the ease with which birds and other animals may be seen by novices as well as accomplished naturalists are among the qualities that make it a truly exceptional experience. Cheyenne Bottoms website

Walking paths wind throughout the Bottoms.


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