Wells Overlook Park is located about two miles south of Lawrence along county road 458 on a high hill that features a wooden observation tower which provides a scenic view of the entire city.
Local cyclist Andrew McKee has presented a proposal to the Douglas County commissioners to build mountain bike trails along the southwest corner of the park and maintain them at no cost to the county.
Andrew McKee had been searching for a good site to build mountain bike trails when the observation tower on top of Wells Overlook Park beckoned in the distance.
“I’ve been kicking it around in the back of my head for about a year,” the Kansas University junior from Lawrence said. “It was just a matter of trying to find the right place.”
Local bicyclists already maintain and use trails at Clinton Lake and along the Kansas River. But those trails aren’t conducive for those who want to practice the “gravity-oriented” biking that mountain bikers favor. That’s the attraction of Wells Overlook, which is 2 miles south of Lawrence on Douglas County Road 458.
“It’s a big hill, and it’s close to town,” McKee said. “There is a road to the top so it’s easy for people to drive up to the top and ride back down.”
The trails can be built to minimize erosion, McKee said. “We have a pretty experienced trail crew,” he said. The trails will be built in stages.
Ken Lassman, whose grandfather donated the park land to the county in 1971, was supportive of the trails idea. “I think the mountain bike community in this area has a good record in building and maintaining trails,” Lassman said. “We think it will draw people to the beauty of the park, and we’re all for that. That’s what the whole goal of the park is.”
The county commissioners have authorized the county administrator’s office to negotiate an agreement with the bike clubs that will address liability and maintenance issues. No word on when construction of the trails may begin.
Read more: Bike paths proposed at Wells Overlook at The Lawrence Journal-World.
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