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The City of Wichita, Department of Park and Recreation participates in the GPNC partnership through providing staff and funding support, taking care of all grounds maintenance and external facility needs, and through providing access to the nature trails and habitat area of Chisholm Creek ParkJim Mason is the City staffer on site, and he serves as GPNC DirectorIn addition, funding support from the City has allowed the Friends of the GPNC to hire Rachel Roth, Rebecca Sellers and Amanda Alessi.

Bob Gress began the Wichita Wild urban nature education program in the Wichita Parks Department in 1986.  The success of the Wichita Wild program and the desire by both the State of Kansas and the Federal government to promote nature education in urban areas led to the partnership that created the Great Plains Nature Center.


The Wichita Department of Park and Recreation will provide abundant open spaces, parks, facilities and recreation activities in accordance with the city's comprehensive plan, in safe, pleasant and healthy surroundings, accessible to all residents and developed in such a way to preserve our natural resources, including landscapes and the urban forest, and to provide unique opportunities for the enjoyment of leisure time.

If you are wanting general information regarding other departments within the City of Wichita, visit the official city web site at:

Other Habitat Areas in Wichita

If you are interested in exploring natural areas in other parts of Wichita, you may wish to try these:

Pawnee Prairie Park - This is the largest park in the city.  It is located on the southwest edge of town.  1 1/2 miles long and 1/2 mile wide, it has over 400 acres of native and restored prairies and riparian woodlands following the course of the Cowskin Creek.  A marked trail loop of 4.75 miles begins at the Pawnee Prairie Park Nature Center at 2625 S. Tyler.  One mile of the marked trail is paved and the rest is unpaved.  Another entrance is on the west side of the park at 9910 W. Pawnee.   This park is the only public area within the city limits of Wichita that is open to horseback riding.  Click here for a trail map.

Swanson Park - This park is located in the northwest part of town and covers 93 acres.  There is a parking lot 1/2 mile north of Central on the west side of Maize Road where a 1.3 mile paved trail begins.  The Cowskin Creek flows through this park in a series of slow meanders.  Native and restored prairie, old hay meadows and woodlands make up the area.

Oak Park - This park is located in the middle of town and covers 37 acres.  A mature woodland core area makes this a great place for spring warblers.   Parking is on the adjacent streets (1100 block of west 11th street and west 12th street).

Heller's Park - In the north central part of town, this park covers 32 acres and has a 3/4 mile unpaved trail.  Parking is limited to the street right of way along the south edge of Earhart Elementary School at 4401 N. Arkansas. This former agricultural land was reseeded with native grasses and wildflowers in May 1990.   Habitat diversity has been augmented by tree and shrub plantings in selected areas, and natural succession to woodland.

Other GPNC Partners:

bulletThe Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism
bulletThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
bulletFriends of the Great Plains Nature Center

Return to the GPNC home page

Questions or comments?  Send Email to Jim Mason Spidey
Or write us at: 
Great Plains Nature Center
6232 E. 29th Street North
Wichita, KS 67220-2200             Call:  316-683-5499            Fax:  316-688-9555