Stafford in Stafford County, Kansas — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Home on the Range
Bison, Prairie Dogs, and More
"The area from Great Bend westward for a hundred miles or so was a famous hunting ground for all the plains tribes, as its excellent pasturage made it the home of vast herds of buffaloes, besides plenty of antelopes and deer." - N. H. Darton, et al., Guidebook of the Western U.S., 1915
Hollywood's Dances with Wolves ensured that the Great Plains would be forever linked with bison in American consciousness. A few centuries ago, some 60 million American Bison ranged from Mexico into Canada. They were the most adundant grazing mammals in North America. Unsustainable hunting in the 1800s wiped out these immense herds. By 1900, roughly 1,000 wild bison remained in this country. Today, thanks to the work of conservationists, ranchers, and wildlife managers, bison populations have rebounded.
Although bison no longer roam freely along the Byway, you can see signs of their historic presence. Bison roll on the ground to shed hair and insect pests, and in the past, their wallows formed depressions as wide as 30 feet. Stop by The Nature Conservancy's Cheyenne Bottoms Preserve to see some of these historic wallows.
Motion and Change
American bison migrated through this part of Kansas by the millions. In 1871, one herd reported from southwest of Dodge City included some four million individuals. Plains tribes depended on bison for food, clothing, tipis, and more, and organized their societies around bison movements.
The Black-tailed Prairie Dog
Along the Byway, look for short-cropped grassy fields with scattered dirt mounds. These are signs of black-tailed prairie dog "towns." At The Nature Conservancy's Cheyenne Bottoms Preserve, burrowing owls nest in prairie dog holes, just one of many species to utilize the extensive tunnels.
Erected by Wetlands & Wildlife National Scenic Byway.
Location. 37° 57.77′ N, 98° 36.035′ W. Marker is in Stafford, Kansas, in Stafford County. Marker is on Main Street, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 113 North Main Street, Stafford KS 67578, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 6 other markers are within 11 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Farmers National Bank (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Surviving the Dirty Thirties (approx. Wetlands & Wildlife National Scenic Byway (approx. 9.1 miles away); Replica of the Statue of Liberty (approx. 9.1 miles away); A Brief History of the Growth of the National Wildlife Refuge System (approx. 9.9 miles away); Cultivating America’s Bread Basket (approx. 10.3 miles away).
Also see . . .
1. American Bison. (Submitted on February 5, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. American Bison. (Submitted on February 5, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. Cheyenne Bottoms Preserve. (Submitted on February 5, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
4. Wetlands & Wildlife National Scenic Byway. (Submitted on February 5, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Categories. • Animals • Environment • Native Americans •
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Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on February 5, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 618 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on February 5, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.