|Did You Know: One of the few remaining portions of virgin prairie in Johnson County is located in Kill Creek Park?|
For most people, it’s hard to imagine now-bustling Johnson County in its natural state of 150 years ago. Development and growth have all but wiped out evidence of the vast stretches of prairie which once covered this area. A snapshot of Kansas’ natural past can still be seen at a 20-acre prairie remnant located on a tree-surrounded hilltop at the Johnson County Park and Recreation District’s 880-acres Kill Creek Park. This park, which opened to the public in late 2001, is located at 11670 Homestead Lane in Olathe.
Biologists and officials alike believe this scenic upland tallgrass prairie has never been plowed. The prairie includes both wet and dry sites and there is still evidence of buffalo wallows on the property. While small in size, the Kill Creek Prairie boasts great natural diversity with more than 200 plant species identified through research by the Kansas Biological Survey and the University of Kansas between 1993 and 2002. Visitors to the site are treated with an array of attractive flowers from April through October.
As part of future Capital Improvement Plans, the park district anticipates constructing a viewing platform near the center of the prairie tract in order to allow visitors increased and controlled access. As planned, the platform will be accessible from the existing Shelter #1 parking lot.The viewing area will have interpretive signage and will be no more than four feet off the ground so as not to be obtrusive or detracting.