Topeka — It's time the Flint Hills area gets the respect it deserves, officials said Monday as they promoted the April issue of National Geographic magazine, which features a photo spread of the rolling Kansas hills and their emerald green grasses, colorful prairie flowers and wildlife.
"We had hills, they had mountains. They had wildlife, we had varmints," said photographer Jim Richardson, who shot the Flint Hills article, in describing how some Kansans have downplayed the diverse prairie landscape.
But Richardson, of Lindsborg, and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius described the Flint Hills as a national treasure.
"This is a great opportunity to showcase the Flint Hills to the world," Sebelius said of the hills that span the state from north to south and are home to expansive tallgrass prairie.
Richardson, a veteran National Geographic photographer, said, "The Flint Hills should never play second fiddle to our nation's most recognized landmarks."
The April edition of National Geographic, which includes the 22-page photo spread on the Flint Hills, will be released later this week.
In addition, an exhibit featuring large-scale prints from the article will make one-week stops in 24 cities across the state, starting April 2-8 in Olathe. No stop is planned in Lawrence.