24 Finalists Vie for Eight Wonders of Kansas Geography

24 Finalists Vie for Eight Wonders of Kansas Geography

Voting is now open to pick state's top geography sites.

The votes are in for the finalists in the Eight Wonders of Kansas Geography. The 24 wonders chosen for the final vote are, in alphabetical order:

ALCOVE SPRING, near Blue Rapids

Alcove Spring is a finalist because of its historical significance as a stop for Indians, fur traders, and emigrants on the Oregon Trail, with wagon ruts, an intermittent waterfall, and a long-flowing spring as the main features.

ARIKAREE BREAKS, Cheyenne County

Arikaree Breaks is a finalist because the steep-sided, rugged canyons and short-grass prairie make this a distinct and scenically-dramatic part of Kansas.


BARTLETT ARBORETUM, Belle Plaine

Bartlett Arboretum is a finalist because it is the oldest arboretum between the Mississippi  River and the Rockies with hundreds of species of native and exotic trees framing a profusion of gardens both formal and naturalistic.

BIG BASIN PRAIRIE PRESERVE, Clark County

Big Basin Prairie Preserve is a finalist because it includes a mile-wide sinkhole, bison herd, and a smaller sinkhole that is home to the legendary St. Jacob's Well, a deep, funnel-shaped spring said never to have gone dry.


BRENHAM METEORITES, near Haviland

Brenham Meteorites are a finalist because they are a rare, stony-iron type and formed the world's largest strewn field of its kind and are one of only three U.S. craters authenticated by the presence of meteorites.


CIMARRON NATIONAL GRASSLAND, Morton County

Cimarron National Grassland is a finalist because of its early pioneering advancements in conservation, because it contains the longest publicly-owned section of the historic Santa Fe Trail, and because it features three ecosystems and has the only known outcrop of Jurassic-age rocks (150 million years old) in Kansas.

 

CORONADO HEIGHTS, near Lindsborg

Coronado Heights is a finalist because it is an inspiring historic landmark and natural platform of Dakota Formation sandstone from which to observe the Smoky Hills and Smoky Hill River valley below.

 

CROSS TIMBERS STATE LAKE, near Toronto

Cross Timbers State Lake is a finalist because it contains one of the northern most extensions of the Cross Timbers ecosystem, including oaks that date back to 1730 and rugged sandstone-capped hills.

 

ELK RIVER HIKING TRAIL, Montgomery County

Elk River Hiking Trail is a finalist because the 15-mile National Recreation Trail, on the edge of the Chautauqua Hills region, threads through boulders and up rocky bluffs and has been rated the best hike in the state.

 

FOUR-STATE LOOKOUT, White Cloud

Four-State Lookout is a finalist because of the spectacular view of Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Iowa from a platform atop the rolling loess hills of the glacial hills region with the Missouri River rolling through the foreground.

 

GEOGRAPHIC CENTER OF THE CONTIGUOUS UNITED STATES, near Lebanon

Geographic Center of the Contiguous United States is a finalist because this small park represents the center of the 48 contiguous states.

 

GYP HILLS SCENIC DRIVE & GYPSUM HILLS SCENIC BYWAY, Barber & Comanche Counties

Gyp Hills Scenic Drive and the Gypsum Hills Scenic Byway are a finalist because of the stunning rust-red buttes and mesa capped by layers of sparkling white gypsum. 

 

KAW POINT PARK, Kansas City

Kaw Point Park is a finalist because the area, recently developed as a public park, commemorates the Lewis and Clark Expedition that stopped here in 1804, and because it provides a mesmerizing view of the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers and the Kansas City skyline.

 

KONZA PRAIRIE, Manhattan

Konza Prairie is a finalist because it is an internationally recognized research site for tallgrass prairie ecology and because the trails offer the public an excellent way to experience this spectacular example of the Flint Hills.

 

LAKE SCOTT STATE PARK, Scott County

Lake Scott State Park is a finalist because of its history, its role as an oasis in an otherwise semi-arid land, and its craggy canyons that provide sudden and surprising relief on the High Plains of western Kansas.

MAXWELL WILDLIFE REFUGE, near Canton

Maxwell Wildlife Refuge is a finalist because its midgrass prairie provides the only place in Kansas where both buffalo and elk can be viewed in their natural habitat by the public.

 

MINED LAND WILDLIFE AREA, Cherokee, Crawford & Labette counties

Mined Land Wildlife Area is a finalist because the land once stripped of overburden has been reclaimed and now features scenic woodlands, grasslands, and lakes that wind around the strip pits.    

 

MOUNT SUNFLOWER, Wallace County

Mount Sunflower is a finalist because the U.S. Geological Survey recognized it as the spot with the highest elevation in Kansas (4,039 feet above sea level), it provides vistas of the High Plains and the short-grass prairie, and because the Harold family has so effectively commemorated this site.

 

MUSHROOM ROCK STATE PARK, Ellsworth County & ROCK CITY, near Minneapolis

Mushroom Rock State Park and Rock City are a duo finalist because both sites showcase rare Dakota sandstone concretions, up to 27 feet in diameter, deposited 100 million years ago and since exposed by the relentless forces of erosion.   

 

NATIVE STONE SCENIC BYWAY, Wabaunsee County

Native Stone Scenic Byway is a finalist because it showcases an area in Kansas that is well known for its native limestone, featuring dry stacked stone fences and stone out-croppings among the rolling Flint Hills.

 

PILLSBURY CROSSING, near Manhattan

Pillsbury Crossing is a finalist because  the flat, stone creek bottom forms a natural ford, followed by a long, broad waterfall that has been a landmark for generations.

 

POST ROCK SCENIC BYWAY, Ellsworth, Lincoln & Russell counties

Post Rock Scenic Byway is a finalist because of the dramatic limestone outcroppings along K-232, the rugged Dakota sandstone bluffs at Lake Wilson, and the long post rock fence rows in this Smoky Hill region, anchored between Wilson and Lucas.

 

SCHERMERHORN PARK, near Galena

Schermerhorn Park is a finalist because it represents the small part of the Ozarks that extends into Kansas, including steep bluffs of Mississippian-age limestone, a 2,500-foot-long cave, endangered species, clear-running Shoal Creek, WPA-era stone terraces, hiking trails, and a nature center.

 

STERNBERG MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY, Hays

Its exhibits include the fossilized remains of giant fishes and marine reptiles--some of the best, most scientifically important evidence that Kansas was under water during the last half of the Cretaceous Period (from 108 to 66 million years ago).

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