Wilderness Park

907 W McKay St
Frontenac, KS 66763
(620) 231-8310

Four miles of trails, major portion of trail system is ADA accessible, 4 pits for fishing.

Donated to the City of Pittsburg by the Casaletto family to preserve its diverse ecosystem. Its goal is to become a recreational and cultural resource for the entire Southeast Kansas area to enjoy. Amenities: More than four miles of trails travel a diverse natural environment that includes wetlands, forested areas, grasslands, and a portion of the Cow Creek tributary system. A major portion of the trail system is ADA-accessible along with more challenging trails that rise above on ridges created by open pit mining. Fishing: There are four nice fishing pits for your enjoyment – Deep Ell Pit, Little Pit, Long John, and White Snake. Park Rules: Follow Kansas fishing regulations, no alcoholic beverages, no horses, no hunting or trapping, no motorized vehicles, no open burning.

Mined Land Public Wildlife & Fishing Areas (MLWA)

507 E 560th Ave
Pittsburg, KS 66762
(620) 231-3173
ksoutdoors.com/KDWPT-Info/Locations/Wildlife-Areas/Southeast/Mined-Land

Various locations throughout Cherokee & Crawford counties, including:
Fishing Lake (MLWA Unit #1)
“Quail Farm” (MLWA Unit #’s 5 & 6)
“Whitmore Pits” (MLWA Unit #’s 7 & 8)
Trout Lake (MLWA Unit #30)
KSOutdoors.com (includes brochure with maps)
ReserveAmerica.com (reserve cabins)

A habitat unlike anywhere else in the state of Kansas is spread more than 14,500 acres of Public Wildlife & Fishing Areas, throughout what used to be known as the Pittsburg-Weir Coalfield, across Cherokee & Crawford counties.

The property is rugged country dotted with more than 1,000 strip-mine lakes, steep-sided hills, and dense vegetation. These areas are now a popular outdoor destination for birding, camping, canoeing, fishing, hiking, hunting, kayaking, mountain biking, mushroom and berry picking, and provides countless opportunities for photographers. But until the 1970’s, the land was like many others in Southeast Kansas: a mining operation.

Mined Land Public Wildlife & Fishing Areas are near Cherokee, Chicopee, Columbus, Frontenac, Pittsburg, Scammon, Weir, and West Mineral, Kansas.

Background

On the edge of where the Great Plains meet the Ozark Plateau, like the rest of the state, the area was once primarily rollings fields of prairie grasses with wooded areas only along creeks. From the 1920’s through 1974, however, all but 2,000 acres of the property now known as the “Mined Lind Wildlife Areas” was surface mined for coal. Electric shovels pushed topsoil aside to reveal the valuable coal beneath, leaving steep hills surrounding the “strip pits”. Frequently in grid patterns, these shovels dug uniquely shaped strip-mine lakes ranging in size from 1/4 acre to 50 acres, and up to 60 feet deep.

Species Identified

After years of inactivity, there are more than 1,500 acres of water, native grass and some cool-season grasses have returned to 4,000 acres of the property. The other 9,000 acres is densely covered in bur oak, hackberry, hickory, pin oak, and walnut, with a thick understory of blackberry, dogwood, green briar, honeysuckle, and poison ivy.

The combination of native grassland, water, and dense forest attract bald eagles, beavers, bobwhite quail, cottontails, cranes, damselflies, dragonflies, eastern turkey, egrets, fox squirrel, frogs, hawks, herons, mourning dove, porcupines, red-eared sliders and other turtles, snakes, waterfowl, and whitetail deer.

Fish found in these pits, many of which are spring-fed, include bluegill, brown trout, channel catfish, crappie, largemouth bass, rainbow trout, redear sunfish, walleye, warmouth bass, wiper (striped bass & white bass hybrid).

Public Use

Vehicle permits are not required for the Mined Lands Wildlife Area, but off road vehicle and horse use is prohibited. Camping is allowed, but campers are asked to stay on the maintained roads for their own safety. The bison pen located on Unit #1 is closed to all activities year around.

On all designated dove fields, hunters are required to use non-toxic shot. No firearms are allowed on Units 1, 21, 23, 47, and a portion of 22, but archery equipment may be used on these units for hunting. Unit 1 is also a nonalcoholic unit.

Swimming is not allowed in the Mined Lind areas for safety reasons. More than 80 concrete and gravel boat rams are available throughout the area. Set lines are prohibited. Channel Cat 15″ length limit, 5 fish daily. Crappie 50 fish limit. Largmouth Bass 13-18″ slot limit, 5 per day. Spotted Bass 15″ length limit 5 per day. Walleye 18″ length limit, 2 per day. Wiper 18″ length limit, 2 per day. Rainbow trout 5 per day. Must have a trout permit if 16 years of age or older. Younger than 16 an angler can catch 2 per day or buy trout permit and then catch 5. Brown trout 20″ or longer, 1 per day.

Cabins are available for rent year round for overnight stays. Two deluxe cabins overlook the trout lake at Mined Land Wildlife Area. Coal Ridge and Mine 19 cabins offer one bedroom with a full-size bed and a futon. A bathroom offers a large walk-in shower. A large front room has a full kitchen with stove, refrigerator, microwave, pots and pans, dishes, silverware, and basic kitchen tools. Also included are a toaster, coffee maker, and filters. You will find additional sleeping accommodations in the front room with a twin-size Murphy bed and a futon. Each cabin is air conditioned and heated. A picnic area outside offers a fire ring, barbecue grill, and picnic table. A large front porch will beckon you to sit a spell. These cabins are ADA accessible and are open all year.

Big Brutus is the centerpiece of a mining museum on the west end of Unit 44, just west of West Mineral, Kansas.

Preservation

Acquired primarily by donation, the Mined Land Wildlife Area is maintained by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism as an attraction area. The first land donation was in 1926. The largest donation, 8,208 acres, came in 1981.

Since 2005, the KDWPT has partnered with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to improve the property and reduce hazards caused by remnants of the area’s mining. To manage the property, the KDWPT oversees prescribed burns, wildlife plantings, native grass restoration and water level management.

The property is managed with federal wildlife restoration money, state wildlife fee fund money, and from agricultural income generated on the property.

Contact Information

Wildlife & Parks Main office: (620) 431-0380

Mined Land Wildlife Area Field Office
507 E 560th Ave
Pittsburg, KS 66762
(620) 231-3173

Mined Land Wildlife Area Field Office
7545 NW Belleview Rd
Columbus, KS 66725
(620) 827-6301

Mined Land Public Fishing & Wildlife Area – Pittsburg: MLWA Unit #1 (Fishing Lake)

US-69 & North County Road
Frontenac, KS 66763
(620) 231-3173
ksoutdoors.com/KDWPT-Info/Locations/Wildlife-Areas/Southeast/Mined-Land

An easy to access popular fishing & picnicking spot. Five boat ramps. Adjacent to the Bob Grant Bison Herd pen. Area donated by a mining company in 1926. Includes a 1950’s era picnic shelter.

Lincoln Park

813 Memorial Drive
Pittsburg, KS 66762
(620) 231-8310

Lincoln Park complex contains an Aquatic Center, two Bocce courts, two lighted half basketball courts, seven horseshoe pits, Don Gutteridge Sports Complex, nine hole disc golf course, fishing, Four Oaks Golf Course, Jaycee Ball Diamond, Kiddieland amusement park, miniature golf, Band Dome, two playgrounds, RV Park, four tennis courts, and three shelter houses. For more information contact Pittsburg Parks and Rec at (620) 231-8310.

Brief History of Lincoln Park

Originally a gathering place for Union veterans of the Civil War to host annual meetings and events. Named for President Abraham Lincoln, those veterans sold the park to the City of Pittsburg in 1906.

Additional acreage was added over the decades; and, a plan for the park was designed in 1908 by renowned Kansas City architect, George E. Kessler, who had designed Hyde Park and the park and boulevard system in Kansas City, and had been the chief architect and designer of the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. Kessler laid out Lincoln Park’s roads, trails, playgrounds and locations for various structures including the park auditorium, now Lincoln Center, and the bandstand, now the J.J. Richards Band Dome.

The auditorium was started on Aug 18, 1910 and dedicated the weekend of Aug 13-15, 1911. It had a large porch with columns wrapped around the outside, which were removed during a remodel of the auditorium in the 1970’s.

In 1936 improvements to the park were made, many using Kessler’s designs, including the addition of a Rose Garden, Lily Pond, Greenhouses and off street parking.

In the 1950’s a swimming pool and wading pool were added on the south side of the park. These were removed and replaced with a much larger water park style swimming pool in the late 1990’s.

Kiddie-Land a small amusement park was added in the 1960’s and is still there.

Four Oaks Golf Course was added to the northwest end of the park in the 1970’s.

Crawford State Fishing Lake #2

1 W Lake Rd
Farlington, KS 66734
(620) 362-3671
ksoutdoors.com/Fishing/Where-to-Fish-in-Kansas/Fishing-Locations-Public-Waters/Southeast-Region/Crawford-State-Fishing-Lake

150 acre lake locally known as Crawford Lake & Farlington Lake. Includes sandy swimming beach, 2 boat ramps, & multiple docks. Ideal for boats, canoes & kayaks.

Fishing information available at https://ksoutdoors.com/Fishing/Where-to-Fish-in-Kansas/Fishing-Locations-Public-Waters/Southeast-Region/Crawford-State-Fishing-Lake

While youth enjoy a sandy swimming beach and playgrounds, pleasure boaters, kayakers, tubers and water skiers enjoy the lake, and anglers enjoy fishing, using docks and two boat ramps to fish for channel catfish, crappie, and striped bass, supplied by a national fish hatchery located below the dam.

The ADA compliant playground at Crawford State Park’s beach area was installed in 2006. The playground consists of numerous swings, three slides, two sets of climbing stuctures, and a playhouse. Access to the beach swimming area, shelter house, bathroom facilities, cafe, and marina are within easy walking distance.

Permits Required
State Park vehicle permits are required for the Crawford State Park.

For more information, check the website or contact the Crawford State Park Office by calling (620) 362-3671. Office hours: Off Season hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Summer hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Sunday.