The Flint Hills

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Predominantly unindustrialized, the Kansas Flint Hills is one of the few remaining areas of unbroken (and unimpaired) native tallgrass prairie in the United States.  As a result, the area has received some significant attention from publications. In April 2007, National Geographic Magazine included a 21-page spread highlighting the remarkable beauty and uniqueness of the area.  Additionally, the Flint Hills were featured as number one of “Ten Stateside Destinations to Remember.”  Although this kind of publicity has truly enhanced the region’s ability to attract visitors, the region is not fully prepared to meet the expectations of people who consider travelling to the area.  Much work remains to be done to develop the true potential of the market.

Additionally, like many rural areas in America, the Flint Hills area has concerns. Counties have experienced loss of businesses and jobs in rural communities.  A majority of the communities have struggled with declining youth populations, resulting in an increased age base and decreased school enrollments.  Most governing bodies in the Flint Hills region are overwhelmed with a need to provide adequate health care, technology and communication development, housing, infrastructure, services, and an emergency management system.  Enhanced efforts to ensure the retention and growth of small business are needed and collaborative community partnerships are being put to task.

These are among the challenges to be considered at the Flint Hills Visioning Summit.