To better educate visitors on the unique Cheyenne Bottoms history, management, wetlands and wildlife, the Kansas Wetlands Education Center of Fort Hays State University's Sternberg Museum of Natural History is now offering guided van tours.
"People can drive through Cheyenne Bottoms any time they want for free," said Curtis Wolf, KWEC manager. "However, typically we hear people say, 'We saw a lot of water and a lot of birds, but we really didn't know what they were.' With the tours, we hope to provide the visitors with a much fuller experience of Cheyenne Bottoms so they get a better understanding and appreciation for this awesome resource of central Kansas."
The center offers two different tours. The "Getting to Know Cheyenne Bottoms Tour" is 30 minutes long and includes a stop at the Cheyenne Bottoms observation tower. It provides visitors with a brief history of Cheyenne Bottoms and a glimpse of the unique pool system of the wildlife area. Birds and wildlife will be pointed out throughout the tour.
The "Cheyenne Bottoms Deluxe Tour" is 90 minutes in which visitors get a complete and interpretive view of the wildlife area and preserve as well as anecdotes about wildlife and the history of Cheyenne Bottoms. The tour focuses on bird and wildlife identification. It will also include a stop at the K-4 Highway Cheyenne Bottoms overlook, which is one of the best views of the Cheyenne Bottoms basin, Wolf said.
The tours are given Tuesday through Friday by request and reservation only. Reservations should be made for the weekday tours by calling KWEC at least one day prior to the tour to ensure that guides are available.
On Saturdays, a 90-minute tour begins at 10:30 a.m., and a 30-minute tour begins at 2:30 p.m. On Sundays, a 90-minute tour begins at 2:30 p.m. Reservations for the weekend tours are still encouraged.
Tours are limited to 11 passengers.
Four FHSU biology graduate students are the tour guides. They are Victoria Hunter, Stockton; Stephanie Kane, Dolores, Colo., Scott Schmidt, Marshall, Minn.; and Trey Towers, Corpus Christi, Texas.
For reservations or for more information, call KWEC at 620-786-7456 or toll free at 1-877-243-9268.