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Location: Located within Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, 14 miles north and 6 miles east of Stafford, Kansas
From Stafford, proceed north on NE 80th Avenue 14 miles, then proceed 6 miles east on NE 140th St., then south 1 mile to trailhead.
The Migrants Mile Trail is located along the Auto Tour Route within Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. Quivira NWR was established in 1955 to protect the wildlife and wildlife habitat in the center of the Great Plains. The Refuge encompasses 22,135 acres and protects inland salt marsh, unique sand prairie, and over 7,000 acres of wetlands that offer rest, feeding, and nesting opportunities for a variety of birds. Quivira is one of the top birding destinations in Kansas, and has recorded over 340 species of birds in its history. Due to its invaluable shorebird habitats, Quivira is an internationally recognized site, designated as a RAMSAR site in 2002, and an Important Bird Area in 2001. It is also part of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN). In addition, its combined importance with the nearby Cheyenne Bottoms complex earned it a place in the Eight Wonders of Kansas.
Quivira also hosts a diverse mix of other animals, including Black-tailed Prairie Dog, Ornate Box Turtle, Badger, Beaver, Plains Leopard Frog, Nine-banded Armadillo, and the state threatened Arkansas Darter. Over 65 species of butterflies, including the Monarch, Western Pygmy Blue, Bordered Patch, and Regal Fritillary, have been recorded. Federally endangered Whooping Cranes use the marshes in spring and fall migration, while the endangered Interior Least Tern and state threatened Snowy Plover nest on Quivira's sand flats.
The Migrants Mile Trail was constructed as a way for Refuge visitors to get close to nature and experience the outdoors. The Trail traverses woodlands, sand prairie, and freshwater marsh. An elevated boardwalk crosses a freshwater pond. Waterfowl, such as Mallard, Bufflehead, Green-winged Teal, and Redhead, frequent the two wetlands along the trail, and herons and egrets are often seen in summer roosting in the surrounding trees or stalking the water’s edge for food.
The trail's name originated through a "Name the Trail" contest after the trail's completion in 1995. Originally consisting of a gravel inner loop (0.6 mile) and a natural-surface (primarily grass and sand) outer loop (0.5 mile), the inner loop was paved with asphalt in 2010. In 1999, a photo blind was designed and constructed by Western Resources Green Team volunteers, overlooking a small pond for views of waterfowl and shorebirds. The inner trail is accessible, and accessible parking is available at the trailhead. Interpretive signs welcome the visitor at the trailhead, and a self-guiding leaflet explains various natural features at numbered stops along the trail’s entirety. In addition, the numbered stops are positioned at 1/10th-mile intervals, and the leaflet also contains health and fitness information.
Migrants Mile Trail is Quivira's most popular trail with visitors, and since it is located less than 1/4-mile from the Environmental Education Classroom, it is used throughout the year by schools and other educational groups as an outdoor classroom. Each September, an annual event entitled Monarch Mania is held at the Classroom, and the Migrants Mile Trail is one of the key areas for visitors and staff to catch and release Monarch butterflies for tagging during the event. Other annual events that include the Trail are December’s Christmas Bird Count and the Migration Count in May, respectively.
Although Quivira National Wildlife Refuge is located in a somewhat isolated rural area, a population of over 100,000 live within less than 40 miles. Annual maintenance needs for the trail are low, with the majority of mowing, trimming, and boardwalk repair conducted by Refuge volunteers.
Primary Surface: Asphalt
Secondary Surface: Grass or Vegetation
Elevation Low Point: 1,720
Elevation High Point: 1,730
Elevation Gain (cumulative): Not Available
Year Designated: 2020
For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
1434 NE 80th Street
Stafford, KS 67578
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