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Camping at Mined Land Wildlife Area

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Mined Land Wildlife Area is unique due to its history of coal mining, which has resulted in a multitude of lakes and unique habitats. Covering approximately 14,500 acres in southeastern Kansas, it is a prime area for a variety of outdoor activities, including camping, fishing, hiking, and wildlife observation.


The area is located in Cherokee, Crawford, and Labette counties in Kansas. It is made up of different units spread out across the region, with the primary access points near the cities of Pittsburg, Columbus, and Baxter Springs.


Facilities and Rules: Camping in the Mined Land Wildlife Area is primarily primitive. There are no developed campsites with electric or water hookups. Campers should be prepared for the basics and pack in all necessary supplies.

  • Permits: As it is a wildlife area, no specific camping permits are usually needed, but always check the current regulations before your trip as policies may change.
  • Fees: Typically, there are no fees for camping in this area.
  • Length of Stay: There is often a limit on the number of consecutive nights you may camp at one site, which is generally 14 days. It's advisable to verify the current restrictions.
  • Campfires: Check for current fire regulations, as they can depend on weather conditions and the season.
  • Trash: Pack out all of your trash as the philosophy is typically "Leave No Trace."

Fishing and Boating

The Mined Land Wildlife Area is known for its numerous strip-mine lakes, which range in size from less than one acre to several acres.

  • Species: These lakes are stocked with a variety of fish such as largemouth bass, channel catfish, crappie, bluegill, and trout (in certain lakes during the trout season).
  • Regulations: A Kansas fishing license is required unless exempt by Kansas law. There may be special regulations for certain lakes, especially for trout fishing.
  • Boat Access: Most lakes do not allow large motorboats, but small fishing boats, canoes, and kayaks are typically permitted. Confirm whether electric trolling motors are allowed on the lake you choose.

Wildlife Observation and Hunting

The area provides a habitat for various species of wildlife and is a destination for hunters and bird watchers.

  • Species: The wildlife found here includes white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, quail, waterfowl, rabbits, and many other small game species.
  • Habitats: You will find diverse habitats, including grasslands, wetlands, and reclaimed mine sites that offer a unique ecosystem.
  • Hunting: Kansas hunting licenses and permits are required, and hunters must follow the state regulations and seasons for each species.

Hiking and Other Activities

Hiking is a popular activity, with several trails offering a view of the area's interesting geography and ecosystems created by the mining and reclamation process.

  • Trails: Trails range from easy to moderate. There are no extensive trail systems, but the terrain offers natural exploration opportunities.
  • Wildlife Photography: The area is excellent for photography due to the varied landscapes and abundant wildlife.
  • Birdwatching: Watersheds, as well as woodland and grassland areas, provide excellent bird-watching prospects, especially during migrations.

Important Tips

  • Check Regulations: Always check current regulations and conditions before heading out. Regulations can change based on wildlife management needs or environmental concerns.
  • Prepare for the Outdoors: Since facilities are minimal, bring plenty of water, sun protection, insect repellent, and any necessary emergency supplies.
  • Safety First: Be mindful of the area's terrain and potential hazards, such as water bodies and wildlife.
  • Be Respectful: Respect wildlife and other visitors. Keep noise to a minimum and maintain a safe distance from animals.
  • Information: Visit the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism's website for the most current information and regulations regarding the Mined Land Wildlife Area.
Map of Campgrounds in Mined Land Wildlife Area
Campgrounds in Mined Land Wildlife Area
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