it represents the small part of the Ozarks that extends into Kansas, including steep
bluffs of Mississippian-age limestone, a 2,500-foot-long cave, endangered
species, clear-running Shoal Creek, WPA-era stone terraces, hiking trails, and
a nature center.
Located: 1.5 miles south on K-26 from downtown Galena. Just before Shoal Creek Bridge, turn east into the park.
1922, Edgar Backus Schermerhorn, a wealthy citizen of Galena, donated
land south of Galena on Shoal Creek for the purpose of building a city
park. During the mid 1930's and early 1940's the W.P.A. (Works
Progressive Administration) built the park's well-known stone terracing
walls and 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 best place to see examples of Mississippian limestone of the Ozark
Plateau is located at Schermerhorn Park. Shoal Creek, one of the
major tributaries to Spring River, flows through the park. This
spring-fed, ozarkian stream has been the major force shaping the basin,
producing the physiographic features so common to the Ozark
region--rolling hills and steep river bluffs. The park sits at the
west end of a tall limestone bluff on the north side of the river.
Photo courtesy Linda Phipps
THE SOUTHEAST KANSAS NATURE CENTER
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 Source: http://www.naturalkansas.org/schermerhorn.htm 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