Discovering Prairie Center in Olathe, Kansas
Olathe, Kansas invests a tremendous amount time, energy and resources in the local park system and residents experience more activities than the average suburban city from my view point. A short, 5 minute drive from downtown Olathe leads you to a hidden gem of a park full of outdoors opportunities. Prairie Center is located at 26235 West 135th Street, in Olathe, Kansas and consists of a fishable pond and miles of trails on 300 acres of well conserved, remnant and reestablished prairie and riparian woodlands. Several small ponds allow you to test your track recognition, combined with the expansive meadows for plan identification there is a great opportunity to learn about native wildlife in Kansas. My introduction to Prairie Center was through the archery range off of Moonlight road. Below are photos from my hike on October 9, 2015.
Fauna at Prairie Center
A variety of flowers and fauna are maintained on the acreage and are easily viewable from the trail. There’s a few wildflowers that are seldom found in this area of Kansas by Suburbanites and Prairie Center makes this an easy view for all Olatheans.
LEAVENWORTH ERYNGO to the left is named for its discoverer, Melines Conklin Leavenworth (1796-1862), an explorer, army surgeon, and botanist.
Over the centuries, yucca has served a multitude of purposes including the leaves being uses a fiber for rope, clothes and weapon parts (in San Diego I witnessed the fibers be woven into a bow string). The fruits can be eaten and I have heard of Yucca Beer and other spirits.
Asters are the nice purple flowers easily seen overhanging the trails not far from the park entrances. There are a variety of asters and at this point I could use some guidance on the exact species of this particular plant.
Tracking at Prairie Center
With an abundance of small ponds the opportunity to track and identify prints is perfect for all aspiring Outdoorsmen. One of my personal favorites is seeing turkey tracks and declaring a Velociraptor is nearby and we all should be on high alert. Trust me, 13 year olds are getting a little fed up with the comment and I need to recycle with some newly minted Cub Scouts and kindergartners.