"In 1943, the Henry Maxwell estate donated 2.560 acres (4 sq. mi.) of land to the Kansas Forestry, Fish, and Game Commission for the creation of a wildlife refuge dedicated to bison and other prairie species. Of that area, a little over 300 acres was designated to be used for the construction of a public fishing lake and the remainder fenced to hold bison and elk. Bison and elk herds were initiated on the refuge in 1951. The primary use of the area is wildlife viewing.
The refuge is located 6 miles north of Canton, in the very southeastern tip of the scenic Smoky Hills, an area of large rolling hills. Principal vegetation is a warm-season mixed grass prairie with many species of grasses and forbs. The dominant grass species are big bluestem, little bluestem, Indiangrass, switchgrass, and sideoats grama. Forbs are abundant and numerous clumps of native sand plum and smooth sumac are scattered throughout the area. Soils are mostly moderately deep sandy loams. Principal management techniques used on the area are prescribed fire and grazing by bison and elk, including herd management to maintain proper grazing levels. Primary use of the area is wildlife viewing. The Maxwell Refuge is the only location in Kansas where public herds of both bison and elk can be viewed in a native prairie environment. It is home to the state's largest public herd of bison. Visitors may view on-their-own from the road and the observation tower or call ahead to schedule a tram tour with the Friends of Maxwell for a close-up view of the bison (620-628-4455). Link to www.cyberkraft.com/maxwell
for more information on tours and special events.” - Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks http://www.kdwpt.state.ks.us/news/KDWPT-Info/Locations/Wildlife-Areas/Region-4/Maxwell
The Don Brown Memorial Shooting Range is located on the very southeastern corner of the property (2680 Pioneer Road). It was created in early 1984, in memory of rural Galva resident Don Brown, who dearly loved the Maxwell Refuge and McPherson State Lake. Don was an avid outdoorsman and taught Hunter Education Classes because of his passion for children, hunting, and the local area. His untimely death at the age of 47 from an auto accident in October 1982, on a road near the refuge, was a tragedy and loss to all who loved him. The Brown family requested memorials be donated to a fund that would establish something in his memory that would live on honoring him and be beneficial to others who love the area as he did.