The Ioway Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska have set out to create the largest tribal national park in the US. The grounds will be used for everything from bird watching to camping to hiking and will be sandwiched in the Great Plains and Rulo Bluffs Preserve.
Ioway Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska to Create the Nation’s Largest Tribal National Park
Spanning more than 440 acres, the park will spread across the Kansas and Nebraska border. Once completed, it will be the largest tribal national park in the US followed by the Lake Superior Chippewa’s Frog Bay National Park in Wisconsin. The area is chockfull of rich woods, a vibrant ecosystem and important archaeological sites; such as 3,000-year-old burial mounds and a trading village used by plains tribes in the 13th and 15th centuries. While the park will certainly be a beautiful place to explore, its more important feature is the preservation of culture. As a tribal national park, it will preserve the countless traditions and stories of the people who’ve been tied to this landscape for millennia.
Lance Foster, the vice-chairman of the tribe, told the Associated Press; “we’ve been here for a thousand years now and, unlike other people who can buy and sell land and move away, we can never move away.” … “This is our land forever. And we’ll be here for another 1000 years.”
The land is home to several species of animals and plants unique to the area. Timber rattlesnakes, southern flying squirrels and the rare cerulean warbler can be found across the land; which features pin oaks, hickory, pawpaw and basswood trees. The tribe’s aim with the park is to “combine agri-tourism, eco-tourism and heritage-tourism in a total package.” according to Foster.
To learn more about it Ioway Tribal National Park, head here.