Cheyenne Bottoms, Barton County
The 19,857-acre Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area is part of a 41,000-acre natural land sink just northeast of Great Bend. It is one of the few natural lakes in Kansas. Before it was divided into several lakes, the entire area was a large, low-lying bottom that filled with water during rainy periods. During dry periods it was used as pasture land and hay. During wet periods hundreds of thousands of waterfowl inhabited the area and it became a popular spot for hunting. It was named for the Cheyenne tribe that used to inhabit the area.
During the 1940s and 1950s, the State of Kansas acquired the land, and dikes were constructed to impound water in five pools. Canals and dams were built to divert water from the nearby Arkansas River and Wet Walnut Creek to supplement water provided by two intermittent streams, Blood and Deception creeks.
Today it is a designated wildlife area managed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. Nearly half of the bird species in the United States can be found here on their seasonal migrations. Endangered birds, including the whooping crane, peregrine falcon, and bald eagle can be seen here.
Entry: Cheyenne Bottoms, Barton County
Author: Kansas Historical Society
Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.
Date Created: February 2011
Date Modified: November 2012
The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.