Schermerhorn Park, near Galena
Shoal Creek. Photo credit Linda Phipps
Nature trail to Schermerhorn Cave.
Overlook to cave entrance. Photo credit L. Phipps.
View from inside cave. Photo credit L. Phipps.
Canoeing Shoal Creek. Photo credit L. Phipps.
7693 SE 77th Terrace, Galena, Kansas 66739
[map this location]
Photo courtesy Keith Stokes
it represents the small part of the Ozarks that extends into
Located: 1.5 miles south on K-26 from downtown Galena. Just before Shoal Creek Bridge, turn east into the park.
ABOUT SCHERMERHORN PARK
other structures. Just inside the entrance there are picnic and cooking areas as well as a playground.
Route 66 travelers would stop here in the 1920s for a refreshing dip in Shoal Creek.
Schermerhorn Park is one of the greatest places to experience the "Kansas Ozarks". The city maintained park is a biological wonderland. The park is alive with examples of native wildlife. The spring that flows from Schermerhorn Cave, located in the park, is home to the dark-sided salamander, the cave salamander and the graybelly salamander, all on the Kansas endangered list. Also birders from all over the state know the park for its wide variety of birds found in the area.
THE SOUTHEAST KANSAS NATURE CENTER
Photo courtesy Linda Phipps
historic scout cabin in Schermerhorn Park has been transformed into the wonderful Southeast Kansas Nature Center. Animal and plant exhibits native to the area
are displayed throughout the center. Exploration drawers are filled
with hands-on materials.
Environmental education classes and workshops are
offered each month. The adjoining park grounds, trails, cave and creek
make a perfect setting for science and nature studies.
MORE ABOUT THE OZARK PLATEAU PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGION
Geological remnants of Mississippian times are found in the limestone cave region of the 55-square mile Ozark Plateau in the very southeast corner of Kansas. The cherty limestones of the area were developed in marine environments during the late Mississippian Period (345 million years ago). Today it is characterized by sinkholes, caves, swift streams and steep cliffs. The well drained cherty soils are poorly suited for agricultural use. Because of rich veins of lead and zinc ores below the surface, this tri-state district became a lead and zinc mining center of worldwide importance in the early 20th century. Much of the original Ozark Oak-Hickory forestlands still remain in this region. The white and Shumard's oaks, and bitternut and shagbark hickorys dominate the landscape of steep limestone bluffs and clear streams.
The only part of the Ozark Plateau that belongs to Kansas is an area in southeast Cherokee County. The underground is Mississippian limestones which are karstified. There are only a few caves but this one is at least developed to the entrance. There is a trail and viewing platform for the impressive cave portal at the foot of a cliff.
The cave entrances and brooks in this area are famous for there various animals, especially amphibians, a lot of them are endangered. Schermerhorn Cave is considered the most biologically diverse cave in Kansas. The cave is used by bats like eastern pipistrelle and gray myotis. Big brown, and red bats live in the area.
There is a local lure, that Jesse James hid in the cave entrance.