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Cheyenne Bottoms, Great Bend

(60 reviews on the web)
Wildlife Area Nature / Park
Cheyenne Bottoms is a wetland in the central Great Plains of North America. Occupying approximately 41000acre in central Kansas, it is the largest wetland in the interior United States. The Bottoms is a critical stopping point on the Central Flyway for millions of birds which migrate through the region annually.HistoryAccording to legend, a battle in 1825 between the Cheyenne and the Kiowa (or Pawnee) turned one of the streams blood red. Blood Creek now flows into the lowlands. Greyhound racing in the United States traces its start to a coursing event in the bottoms in 1886.In 1900, a project known as the Koen Ditch attempted to divert Arkansas River water 12mi to the Bottoms so that it could be used for irrigation. The ditch washed out in a flood. During the 1920s, various plans were put forth to drain the Bottoms and convert it to farmland. However, residents downstream in Hutchinson, Kansas protested that doing so would create flooding problems for them.In 1925, the Kansas Forestry, Fish and Game Commission was created to develop and care for the Bottoms. In August 1927, 14in of rain upstream turned it overnight into "Lake Cheyenne" and caused flooding downstream of Little Cheyenne Creek. Kansas politicians including Clifford Hope, Charles Curtis, Henry Allen and Arthur Capper made an unsuccessful plea to get federal money to convert it into a National Wildlife Refuge. Following the Pittman–Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937, which taxed sporting arms and ammunition, funds became available to develop the Bottoms.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Do stop at the information center to get a map to have an idea of how large this place is. I had photographed 150 species of birds, but found a couple new ones here. It is great that folks do not litt...  more »
  • Cheyenne Bottoms is a unique wetlands and refuge offering excellent birdwatching, especially during migrations. It is easy to get to and easy to drive around. Unfortunately, state funding has apparent...  more »
  • Easy self-drive on gravel roads. You can see most of it in about 3 hours but better if you have all day.  more »