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Fort Scott National Historic Site is a monument to a time when America was still a young republic forging its identity and a witness to the events that were part of that transition. The area was originally inhabited by the Osage tribe, a group of Native Americans who were described by famed artist George Catlin as being exceptionally tall (taller than most Europeans) and fierce warriors. The actual fort was established sometime around the mid-19th century. It became the training ground for the first African-American military units that would fight in the Civil War. Rent a camper near Fort Scott National Historic Site, and you can experience the landscape and history for yourself.
Fort Scott occupied an area where it was backed by a limestone bluff and looked out over a prairie with streams; its elevation gave it an advantageous view to the extent that no fort walls were required. Today the scenery has changed dramatically with the addition of railways, highways, and urban settlement, but also includes a restored tallgrass prairie ecosystem. Camping near Fort Scott National Historic Site is the most relaxing way to enjoy your time here.
Fort Scott National Historic Site is a part of the National Park System, meaning that wildlife here is protected; despite this, much of the wildlife does not reside within the park but may use it for feeding and other purposes. If you enjoy viewing wildlife, you'll see a variety of species that are common to the typical transition areas between prairies and forests. Turtles and black snakes can be spotted near the historic buildings, while white-tailed deer may be spotted near the edges of the prairie. Robins, cardinals, and other songbirds line the trees while eagles and crows appear in search of food.
If you're interested in learning more about Fort Scott National Historic Site, there is an on-site bookstore run by a non-profit society. You will find books, DVDs, and CDs, maps and posters, and other educational resources. The site runs educational programs aimed at school-age children. It also has a visitor center where kids can complete workbooks to earn Junior Ranger badges. Older kids and adults can spend time exploring the site and its buildings, taking photographs, and enjoying leisurely walks.
If a self-guided tour of the grounds isn't sufficient, you can join the guided tours that are both informative and enjoyable, and observe as re-enactors stage performances of how life was conducted at that time. There is also a video you can watch, and from the site, you can access the downtown Fort Scott area to shop, have lunch, and explore the surrounding village. Hollister Wildlife Area is a nearby nature preserve that is a combination of agriculture and unspoiled outdoor scenery. You can come here to go hiking, among other activities.
There aren't any camping facilities on the site itself; however, Bourbon County Fairgrounds has RV campsites with electric and water hookups; RV camping in Bourbon County will put you only minutes away from Fort Scott NHS. Crawford State Park has six campgrounds with campsites that are either primitive, have electric-only hookups, or electric and water hookups. All of its campsites have a view of the adjacent lake. If you choose to park the Fort Scott motorhome rental here, you can enjoy hiking and biking on trails that run through stands of redbud trees and past pockets of flowers. There is a beach where you can swim and a boat ramp; during the summer, there are programmed activities that everyone can enjoy.
Gunn Park, within the city of Fort Scott, has basic RV camping with electric and water hookups. Slightly across the state border in Nevada, Missouri, Osage Prairie RV Park is a family-friendly RV campground with a swimming pool and a mini-golf course, and full hookups in each campsite. Osage Prairie is close to numerous attractions, such as the Nevada Victorian Tour, the Bushwhacker Museum, and the Osage Village State Historic Site.
Girard is a small town with some interesting attractions. If you like museums, you'll find one detailing the history of this community. There is a Vietnam War memorial, a historic church, a public swimming pool, and a municipal golf course. The town has a small but sufficient number of restaurants that include a steakhouse, a deli, and a diner. Most of the venues are reasonably priced, so you can eat out without breaking the bank.
Pittsburg is a slightly larger community with numerous urban parks where you can take a relaxing stroll and attractions that symbolize the town's character and spirit. Some of the attractions are outdoor murals; another is a historic hotel. There are two local memorials, one for the miners who helped Pittsburg to grow and prosper, and one which is a replica of a veterans' memorial in Washington, DC.