Mined Land Public Wildlife & Fishing Areas (MLWA)

507 E 560th Ave
Pittsburg, KS 66762
(620) 231-3173

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.


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.


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 Wildlife Area: Pittsburg

Pittsburg, KS 66762
(620) 231-3173

MLWA Unit #1 (Fishing Lake)
Access via US-160/North County Road just east of US-69 (North of Frontenac)
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.

MLWA Units #2, 3 & 4 (Litchfield)
Access via NW, NE & SE corners of S 260th St & E 570th (East of Pittsburg)

MLWA Units 5 & 6 (Quail Farm)
Access via KS-126 just west of 190th St; and, 560th Ave west of 200th St (West of Pittsburg)

MLWA Units 7 & 8 (Whitmore Pits)
Access via S 180th St just south of 540th Ave, both west and east side of road (Southwest of Pittsburg)

Crawford State Park

1 W Lake Rd
Farlington, KS 66734
(620) 362-3671

Crawford State Park attracts tens of thousands of visitors annually. The 500-acre park includes a 150-acre lake, and is locally known as both “Crawford Lake” and “Farlington Lake”. The area includes a lakeside cafe, cabins and campsites, numerous recreational opportunities, and a spectacular view with plenty of water to explore and fish.

Rooted in history and home to 80 residents, there are two recorded archaeological sites in the park, including the remains of a 19th century U.S. military outpost. The lake was built in the 1930’s over a four year period by 200 young men in the Civilian Conservation Corps as a recreation destination. Operated by the State of Kansas, the park is also cared for in part by a volunteer group, Friends of Crawford State Park.

Lake View Café
2 Lake Road
Farlington, Kansas
(620) 362-4131
Open seasonally on the bank of Farlington Lake in Crawford State Park.

Cabin Rental, Camping & RV’s
Ideal for family reunions, club camp outs, and other group activities, Crawford State Park offers five lakefront rental cabins with all the comforts of home, and six campgrounds, that are shaded by mature cottonwoods and oaks and redbuds in a beautiful lake setting. All are available year round by reservation.

Cabin and campsite reservations are first come, first served, and are taken at ReserveAmerica.com or by calling the park office at (620) 362-3671 during office hours.

All cabins are ADA accessible, air conditioned and heated, have bathrooms with showers, kitchens are complete with stove, refrigerator, microwave, pots and pans, dishware and utensils, and have a grill, fire ring, and a picnic table. The SHADY REST offers three full-size beds, two twin beds, and a bunk bed. The NORTH WIND, MORNING GLORY, and THE LANDING offer one bedroom with a full-size bed and a futon. The front rooms offer a twin-size Murphy bed and a sofa.

Campsites & RV
There are 28 primitive campsites, 38 electric only sites, 25 50 amp/water sites, and 20 30 amp/ water sites. All campsites have a spectacular view of the lake. For your convenience, there are three bathhouses, and a dump station for RV’s.

On The 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.

Located where the Cherokee Lowlands meet the Osage Cuestas, and on the edge of the Ozark Plateau, Crawford State Park provides a variety of landscapes seen throughout Kansas all in a single state park, making the four hiking and biking trails very popular. Redbud trees offer spectacular beauty in the spring along with a wide variety of colorful wildflowers, birds, and butterflies. The lush foliage of the surrounding forest is a naturalist’s delight.

Farlington Fish Hatchery
Farlington Fish Hatchery below the dam was built shortly after the lake was completed.

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.

Bone Creek Reservoir

840 N 200th St
Arcadia, KS 66711
(620) 231-3173

Bone Creek Reservoir is a very young body of water established in 1996 when the Bone Creek Valley was flooded to provide water for the residents of Crawford and Cherokee Counties.

The reservoir is ideal for fishing stocked with monster-size largemouth bass, catfish, walleye and crappie.

Weekly tournaments as are other regional tournaments. Hosts include Bone Creek Tournaments, American Bass Anglers Association District 128E Tournaments, and the Mirza Shriners Tournaments.