Kansas’ oldest recreation area, Kanopolis State Park
includes more than 11,000 acres of rolling hills, bluffs, and woods, as well as
the 3,400 acre Kanopolis Reservoir. Managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,
the lake not only provides the benefits of flood control and numerous recreation
opportunities, the area is also rich in Kansas history.
Long before the lake was
Smoky Hill River
Valley served as a lifeline for its inhabitants for many centuries. Many
millions of years ago Kansas was
covered with a warm shallow sea, which left behind limestone and Dakota
sandstone deposits from aquatic life, as well as many sea creature fossils and
sharks teeth as evidence. Prehistoric wildlife such as wooly mammoths and
mastodons migrated the upper reaches of the river valley along with varieties of
vegetarian dinosaurs. More notable travelers of pronghorn antelope, elk, and
bison moved with the changing seasons and often frequented the river valley.