Harvey County West Park
The sand prairie is an area of sand dunes stabilized by the roots of bluestem grasses, sand lovegrass, and sandhill plum. A good diversity of wildflowers may be seen here as well. The surface-bulging tunnels of eastern moles and mounds of dirt left by plains pocket gophers are signs of mammals seldom seen. However, pleasant, moonless nights will bring kangaroo rats from the fan-shaped entrance of their burrows.
In summer, gaze overhead for turkey vultures, red-tailed hawks, and Mississippi kites. Hovering and swooping over the grasses are American kestrels, scissor-tailed flycatchers, and northern harriers. Colorful dragonflies and damselflies, whirligig and diving beetles, and water skaters occupy the aquatic areas. Many kinds of amphibians and reptiles supply amusement: tiger salamanders, diamondback water snakes, spiny softshell turtles, and common snapping turtles. Other reptiles commonly seen in the dunes are western hognose snakes, plains garter snakes, slender glass lizards, and ornate box turtles. On a warm day, if you notice a lightning-quick creature scurrying away from you through the vegetation off the side of the trail, it is the six-lined racerunner lizard! View red-winged blackbirds, great blue herons, mallard ducks, beavers, and raccoons around the water's edge.
In the woodlands of cottonwood, elm, hackberry, buckbrush, and rough-leaved dogwood are vireos, warblers, and thrushes. In winter Harris' sparrows, winter wrens, and red-breasted nuthatches are seen. Wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, opossums, and cottontail rabbits are always active.
While in the Newton area, learn more about pioneer history and walk through a reconstructed prairie at the Kauffman Museum.
Utility and primitive camping, permit required.
Lakeside Nature Trail (1 mile loop); Mowed interpretive trails (2 miles with 3 loops)
Ownership: The entity responsible for management of Harvey West Lake is Harvey County. If you have specific questions about use or management of this site, contact them at (316) 835-3189. 310 acres
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