“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Chivington in Kiowa County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)

Humans and the Prairie

Humans and the Prairie Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Connor Olson, August 30, 2021
1. Humans and the Prairie Marker
Inscription.  Grasslands are some of the most biologicaly productive but endangered ecosystems on Earth, and are the major ecosystem in the Great Plains. The prairie is integral in shaping this cultural landscape. It supports the interaction and survival of plants and animals. The prairie of Sand Creek Massacre NHS is composed of sandhills, shortgrass and mixed grass prairie, and wetlands. The diversity of upland grassland and riparian areas provides a unique and important habitat for birds, especially migrating species, and other animals.

Cottonwood trees along Big Sandy Creek- living and dead-have cultural and spiritual significance to the Cheyenne and Arapaho beyond their association with the Indian encampments attacked by the U.S. military in 1864 during Sand Creek Massacre. During severe winters, American Indians and early settlers fed cottonwood to horses and cattle. The cottonwood stands lining Big Sandy Creek date to the mid 1900s, though it is possible a few trees were present during the massacre as seedlings or saplings. The trees provide important roosting, nesting, and feeding sites for birds, as well as nesting
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Historic disturbances and drought affect the vegetation composition of the park. Changes in vegetation since the massacre may be related to introduced exotic species, changes in fire frequency, agricultural and development disturbances, drought, and the construction of a canal.

Prairie Restoration
Few grasslands are preserved in the southern Great Plains and protected areas are dispropor- tionately important to their size. Many protected grasslands are in degraded conditions caused by previous row cropping efforts, invasion by exotic vegetation, altered hydrology from from damming and pumping for local irrigation and development, livestock and human traffic, and encroachment by woody shrubs. Despite the degraded condition of some areas in Sand Creek Massacre NHS and other parks, they area natural oases in a largely agricultural landscape and are candidates for restoration.

In 2008, the National Park Service's Southern Plains Network began to plan prairie restoration projects in several parks, including Sand Creek Massacre NHS. Restoration is an indefinite commitment and requires monitoring to adjustments are needed over time.

Learning More About Sand Creek
Sand Creek NHS in other national Park service units provide unique opportunities for scientific investigations. Because
Humans and the Prairie Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Connor Olson, August 30, 2021
2. Humans and the Prairie Marker
these areas are preserved and protected, they can be studied as reference points for comparisons with similar, altered environments. Studies at Sand Creek Massacre NHS contribute to the understanding of the area. This information is used for planning, management, and sharing with partners in the public.

Research in the park covers a wide range of subjects including archaeology, geology, soil, fish, birds, plants, and water. This information is used for decision making, working with partners and other agencies, and communicating with the public to protect the natural systems and native species in the area.

Several decades of work and cooperation between tribes, state and federal agencies, universities, and affected landowners contributed to the establishment of the Sand Creek Massacre Site as a National Park Sevice unit in 2007.
continued study will expand our knowledge of the resources preserved and protected by the National Park Service.

Ecological restoration experts and National Park Service managers work together to accomplish prairie and restoration at Sand Creek Massacre NHS.
National Park Service managers from multiple parks collaborate to conduct efficient and effective restoration techniques. In this photo a planning group discusses seed collection techniques at nearby Ben’s Old Fort NHS that may be
Prairie of Sand Creek Massacre Site image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Connor Olson, August 30, 2021
3. Prairie of Sand Creek Massacre Site
used at Sand Creek NHS.
in 2009, three bobcats were observed in the prairie dog town – the first to be reported in the park. To learn more about bobcats in the park, manager set up motion-triggered cameras to take photos.
The Cheyenne tribal member fire crew provided assistance to resource managers in 2004 before Sand Creek Massacre NHS was established. Members of associate tribes continue to provide important assistance and be involved with the park.

Erected by National Park Service, Department of the Interior.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AnimalsEntertainmentNative AmericansParks & Recreational Areas. A significant historical year for this entry is 2007.
Location. 38° 32.67′ N, 102° 30.22′ W. Marker is near Chivington, Colorado, in Kiowa County. Marker can be reached from County Highway W east of Chief White Antelope Way. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Eads CO 81036, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Why A 33 Star Flag (here, next to this marker); Welcome to the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site (within shouting distance of this marker); Conscious and Courage (within shouting distance of this marker); The Sand Creek Massacre (within shouting distance
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of this marker); Sand Creek as Camp Site (approx. 0.3 miles away); Fort Lyon Reservation (approx. 0.3 miles away); Returned to Sand Creek (approx. 0.6 miles away); Sacred Memory (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Chivington.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 4, 2021. It was originally submitted on November 1, 2021, by Connor Olson of Kewaskum, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 129 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 1, 2021, by Connor Olson of Kewaskum, Wisconsin. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.

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Mar. 2, 2024