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I am a New York-based writer, travel lover, and author of The Drive North and Destination Paranormal. I have several other books in the works, including fiction.

A Stop at Scott Lake State Park

Just a short drive north of Garden City and the Arkansas River, the border with Mexico in the early 1800s, sits Scott Lake State Park in Kansas, which is a great spot for fishing, camping, hiking and the like.
 

 

Driving through the vast plains and farm fields of western Kansas it’s difficult to believe such a place exists. It seems totally and completely and in every other way inconceivable that a 100 acre lake, created from a dam in the 1930s, could sit here amongst the wooded bluffs. It’s an a true oasis in the middle of nowhere.
 

 

Yet, while it’s a great spot for a variety of outdoor activities, I was most captured by the history of the park.
 

 

In the 1600s the Taos Indians settled this area. Building the northernmost pueblo in the country they lived here for 20 years, according to the park brochure, in an attempt to flee Spanish rule in the south. Later the area was used by Picurie Indians as well as spot for French traders. The site, known as El Cuartelejo Indian Pueblo, was discovered by settler Herbert Steele.
 
 

Steele settled the area in the late 1880s and later built a home here for his wife, Eliza Landon. The house still stands and is now a museum for park visitors. The attendant told us that while some things have been added it is generally just as the Steele’s kept it.
 

 

It was the Steele family wish that all 640 acres of their land become a public park and recreation area. And in 1928 it was made the first park of Kansas as the land was acquired, along with hundreds of surrounding acres, by the forerunner of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.

 

 
Today the area, just a short drive south of Oakley, Kansas, is used as a recreation and vacation destination by many. There are more than 200 campsites available, as well as shower facilities, making it a great place to spend a weekend away. And, surprisingly enough, it’s in western Kansas.

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