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MAY-JUN 2017

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36 M A Y / J U N E 2 0 1 7 TALLGRASS PRAIRIE NATIONAL PRESERVE S T R O N G C I T Y, K A N S A S Grass meets sky, stretching to the horizon at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in Kansas. e visitor center offers a 10-minute in- troductory film. Guided tours of the limestone, 1881 Spring Hill Ranch house; the three-story, limestone barn; and outbuildings showcase ranching life. "At one time, there were 170 million acres of tallgrass prairie, and today, about 4 percent remains, mostly here in the Kansas Flint Hills," said Heather Brown, chief of interpretation and visitor services at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. "Ranger-narrated bus tours during summer months introduce groups to the prairie's natural and historic aspects, allow them to see our 80-plus bison herd and get people into the prairie to actually stand in the grass." Summer brings thriving prairie grasses and cattle grazing as clouds skirt along the rolling hills. Fall arrives with tallgrasses reaching their maximum heights, from waist-high to well over a person's head. Seed heads are in bloom, and their stems turn hues of gold and bronze. Forty miles of hiking trails weave through wildflowers that peak in late May and early June, but continue to bloom through the fall. e Southwind Nature Trail winds its way across a tree-lined creek bed, and the Bottomland Trail features interpretive panels about the prairie's natural and cultural history. W W W . N P S . G O V / T A P R Photos courtesy Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve Tour SOUTHEAST INDIANA KENTUCKY OHIO INDIANA Cincinnati Indianapolis Louisville Lexington 1 South of I-74 & west of I-275, 20 minutes west of Cincinnati 800-322-8198 Aurora and Lawrenceburg GIRLFRIEND Getaways

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