KABT Spring Field Trip: Smoky Valley Ranch

Join us for a western Kansas adventure on the Smoky Valley Ranch and surrounding areas June 1-3!

https://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/kansas/placesweprotect/smoky-valley-ranch.xml

Activities include:

– camping under a peaceful grove of cottonwoods along the Smoky Hill River.
– viewing prairie chicken leaks.
– viewing swift fox dens.
– hiking numerous chalk bluffs.
– observing ferruginous hawk nesting sites.
– seeing the numerous ranch management techniques utilized on the Smoky Valley Ranch.
– visiting Little Jerusalem and other cool sites.
– visiting several sites of historical significance including trails, springs, and a buffalo jump site.
– spotlighting the nightlife of the western KS prairies (may include black-footed ferrets)!
– catching stuff found under rocks.
– sitting around the campfire and discussing life (biology).
– and many others!

We will plan on camping on Friday and Saturday night. Most people arrive Friday evening with enough time to set up camp and possibly eat. There are hotels available in surrounding communities if camping is not your thing (Oakley, Deighton, or Scott City). For those that are camping, we do have access to restrooms and showers! We will NOT plan on meeting at a restaurant on Friday evening, but there are a few restaurants in Oakley if you want to eat before you come out. Plan on taking care of your own meals. We may find a place to eat on Saturday evening depending on where our travels take us. Fill up with gas in Oakley! God’s Country does not include many gas stations! The Smoky Valley Ranch is about 25 miles (1 hr) SSW of Oakley.

Updates: Other than dropping a pin on the campsite, I think I mentioned about everything you need to know above. You will need to take care of meals on your own Friday evening, Saturday breakfast and lunch, and Sunday morning. The plan is to find a place to share a meal on Saturday evening.

Make sure you bring plenty of water, bug spray, and sunscreen! It looks like the weather is cooperating and we will get a break from the heat… mid 80’s on Sat. and Sun. and around 60 for sleeping at night.

Bring flashlights (spotlights) if you have them for road cruising and ferret spotting on Saturday night. We will plan on eating supper on Saturday evening and taking it easy/resting/sleeping till around midnight. The best chance of seeing a black-footed ferret is from midnight till about 4:00 am!

Here’s the pin to the campsite: https://goo.gl/maps/zHyJxifBR3t

This is primitive camping! That being said, there is access to bathrooms and showers, just not in our immediate vicinity.

It would be great to have everyone check in on Friday evening at the campsite, but if you are not camping and going straight to your hotel room Friday night, we will plan on gathering at the campsite around 7:30 am Saturday morning, so that we can be on the road by 8 am.

Please ask questions in the comments as others may have the same questions.

Looking forward to seeing everyone this weekend!

Noah Busch

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