More than new offices, building to bring history to life in unique landscape
SCOTT CITY -- Amidst the rocky outcroppings known as the Ogallala Formation, Lake Scott State Park is carved into the geography like no place in Kansas. Natural springs, deep-wooded canyons, and craggy bluffs have for centuries made this area an oasis in the High Plains. Long before early Europeans settled the area, natives took advantage of the shelter and water offered here. Remains of the northernmost pueblo dwellings can be found here, and battles were fought over this a strategic site.

Soon, a new structure will help visitors appreciate this area's rich history. The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) is building an interpretive center and office building near the park entrance. At a cost of approximately $490,000, the 2,125-square foot building will have an adobe veneer and house park offices and museum displays. Native American artifacts and wildlife exhibits will be featured, enhancing special programs planned by park staff. Staff will work with both local and state historical societies to create the displays and programs.

"We'll concentrate a lot on interactive media, with CD programs running or available most of the time," says park manager Rick Stevens. "We already have most of the Native America artifacts, so as soon as we can get cases built for them, they'll be available. Some of the other things will take longer, so it may be late next summer before everything is available. A friends group is forming, and they will be a great help."

Once open, the center will operate seven days a week during the prime season -- April 1-Sept. 31. During the off-season, the center will be open five days a week. Winter or summer, spring or fall, the center will be a welcome complement to the park and its 150,000 annual visitors.

The center is scheduled for completion by the end of the year, and office staff hope to be moved in by early 2009. In addition, the park plans to offer two new cabins for rent in the near future. For more information, phone Lake Scott State Park at 620-872-2061.