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.