Pawnee County tour to provide look at agritourism, Kansas history

15 07 2013

McPHERSON, KAN.- July 15, 2013 – On Aug. 10 Kansas Farmers Union will be hosting a tour of Heartland Farm near Pawnee Rock and several area attractions. The tour is open to the public.

The tour will begin at 9 a.m. at the Pawnee Rock State Historic Site. A historic point on the Santa Fe Trail, this sit was “regarded it as the most dangerous place travelers had to pass,” according to the Kansas Historical Society.

The Heartland Farm tour will begin at 10 a.m., at 1049 CR 390, Pawnee Rock. The Dominican Sisters of Peace will show the group their 80-acre agritourism operation, which includes organic produce gardens, alpacas, a labyrinth, some unique buildings and a farm store.

According to Heartland Farm, it “is a Christian community committed to working for the healing and care of the Earth and its inhabitants.” For more information on the farm, visit

After the hour long tour of Heartland Farm, the group will carpool to the Kansas Wetlands Education Center (Cheyenne Bottoms) for a self-guided tour and lunch.

The group will then head back to Pawnee County and tour Fort Larned National Historic Site at 2 p.m. The Fort is often regarded as the best preserved of its time and is filled with Santa Fe Trail history.

At 3:30 p.m. the tour will move to the Santa Fe Trail Center Museum in Larned. The Center does charge an admission fee of $4 for adults, $2.50 for students (12-18), $1.50 for children (6-11), and admission is free for children five and younger.

After the tour and before supper, attendees will have the choice of taking a break/settling into overnight accommodations, or a local tour lead by Pawnee County Farmers Union President Tom Giessel.

“The Giessels have offered to show us around their neck of the woods,” KFU Special Projects Coordinator Nick Levendofsky said. “There are other historical sites such as Sibley’s Camp, The Little Red House, Zebulon Pike Plaza, and the farm of a past NFU president! We may even get lucky and have the opportunity to visit Tom and Sheryl’s farm near Larned.”

The day will conclude back at Heartland Farm with a barbecue and live music at 7 p.m., followed by stargazing as the annual Perseid meteor shower streaks across the Kansas sky. Heartland Farm recommends that you bring lawn chairs and blankets for the evening. Supper is $15 per family.

The Farm does have space available for those want to bring tents and camp, or you may want to book one of their guest houses for the evening. Please make reservations in advance by calling (620) 923-4585 or email There are other hotel accommodations in the Larned and Great Bend area in case Heartland Farm is booked.

Please RSVP for the tour and lunch by calling the KFU office at 620-241-6630 or email by Aug. 1. For more information, visit




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