Where the Buffalo Roam


Discover the Kansas Prairie, South Central Kansas offers something for Everyone. Check out the herd at Maxwell Wildlife Refuge, “Where the Buffalo Roam”.

Maxwell is located on the Prairie Trail Scenic Byway, the newest byway designated by the Scenic Byway Commission, Kansas Travel and Tourism and the Department of Commerce. The Byway begins at the Hwy. 56 the South edge of Canton and invites travelers to the cities of Canton, Lindsborg and Marquette, plus the Maxwell Wildlife Refuge, Kanopolis State Park and Mushroom State Park, the byway is 54 miles long, ending at the T intersection of Hwy. 140.

In Battlehill township, of McPherson County, lies a piece of preserved natural prairie, comprised of rolling hills, creeks, springs, and beautiful prairie grasses and wildflowers. Here 200 head of bison and 50 elk roam free on 2800 acres. This place is Maxwell Wildlife Refuge, given for all future generations to enjoy.

In 1859 John Gault Maxwell Drove a small herd of buffalo into the area and set up a homestead. Marrying in 1865 and having two sons, John and Henry, John being the first white child born in McPherson County. Mr. Maxwell's dream was to preserve a piece of prairie, with a roaming herd of buffalo, for future generations to experience Kansas as it was in the 1800's, prior to settlement. With the death of Mr. Maxwell and the success in business of his two sons, the dream lived on. John died in 1940 leaving his interests to Henry, and with Henry's death, his will made Maxwell Wildlife Refuge possible.

No other place in Kansas can buffalo and elk be viewed as they can at Maxwell. The Friends of Maxwell, a local non-profit organization who works with Kansas Wildlife and Parks to promote the historic and educational values of the refuge for all people to enjoy.

Formed in 1993, the Friends group began designing programs to create an income to fund the activities, with the main focus on guided prairie tours, traveling into the buffalo herd with information about the buffalo, the importance of preserving our environment and history of the area. All of these experiences are made possible because of one pioneer's fascination with the prairie and the "Magnificent Buffalo", and one young widow who strove to carry out here husbands dream, fulfilled by here two sons and finally by "Friends" of both land and people.

You may become a member of the Friends of Maxwell with a minimum $5 donation. All donations go to the develop our educational programs. By becoming a member you will receive our Bison Tracks newspaper with all the activities and events for each season. Mail your contribution to: Friends of Maxwell, 2565 Pueblo Rd., Canton, Kansas 67428

You can find more information here