Kansas Trail News for June 2, 2010 from Sunflower Recreational Trails:
Kansas 13th Most Bicycle Friendly State
The League of American Bicyclists has announced its 2010 Bicycle Friendly State Rankings and places Kansas 13th in the nation. For some inexplicable reason it jumped up from 33rd place in 2009. The Sunflower State ranks 12th for 2010 policies and programs; 13th for 2010 legislation; 17th for 2010 infrastructure; 15th for education; and 15th for enforcement. This jump in rankings could possibly be due to lobbying by KanBikeWalk. Washington State ranked #1 and Alabama 50th. [ learn more ]
Old Cannonball Stage Line
The famous Old Cannonball Stagecoach Line stretched between the cow town of Wichita west to Kingman (later to Greensburg). The recently-completed Prairie Sunset Trail between Wichita and Garden Plain follows the general route of this historic trail.
Flamboyant and colorful, Donald R. “Cannonball” Green (1839-1922) ran a stage-line connecting the railroad to towns across southwestern Kansas for more than 20 years. Green started his first stage service in Kingman in 1876. It ran through Pratt to Coldwater and later to Greensburg, a town he helped found in 1886. According to his obituary in the Wichita Beacon: “He was nicknamed “Cannonball” because of the speed with which he drove his horse. He was an expert at flicking a fly at a long distance with the cracker of his blacksnake.”
“Green’s stage line served areas not reached by the railroad, and for a few years carried the mail from Wichita to Kingman. Known for their speed, Green’s coaches were pulled by teams of six or eight horses which were changed every eight to ten miles. More than a driver, Green was an advisor and teacher, sharing with passengers his knowledge of southwestern Kansas and the prairie landscape. As the railroads advanced, Green moved his stage service west but stage demand soon dwindled.” (Source: Legends of America website)
National Trails Day This Saturday
Celebrate National Trails Day on the Prairie Spirit Trail in Ottawa this Saturday. Participants can either ride or walk on the trail. The event will start 9:00 a.m. in Kanza Park in south Ottawa. Directions: Exit on 15th Street from I-35. Turn west on 15th Street and take to Main Street. Turn North on Main Street then turn west on 13th Street. End at Kanza Park.
US 75 Trail Bridge Work Began June 1 Near Lyndon
Construction began June 1 on replacing the old railroad bridge over US 75 north of Lyndon in Osage County. A new bike-ped bridge will allow KDOT to widen US 75 and enable trail users on the Flint Hills Nature Trail to travel safely over the busy highway. The project is expected to be completed in October. [ learn more ]
Hearings On Chisholm National Historic Trail Designation To Be Held
The following appeared in the June 2 edition of the KC Star:
The National Park Service plans meetings in Kansas this month to discuss designating the Chisholm and Great Western cattle trails as historic trails.
The agency is also encouraging people to submit comments online or in writing by July 5.
The meetings will be June 22 in Dodge City, June 24 in Wichita and June 25 in Abilene, all important cattle towns during the 19th century.
The Chisholm Trail (1867-1887) stretched 350 miles north from the Red River Station in north Texas to Abilene, Kansas. Millions of cattle were driven by thousands of cowboys. The cattle drives to railroad heads in Kansas were considerable undertakings. The cowboys would experience intense dust, blizzards, thunderstorms, periods of boredom and often inedible food. Approximately one-third of the cowboys were African American or Mexican. In fact much of the cowboy gear and culture came from the Vaqueros. The cook was often African American.
The cowboys would sing to the herds at night to keep them quiet and the songs became part of American Western folklore and folk music.
In the five years from 1867 to 1872, more than 3 million head of cattle were driven up the trail from Texas to Abilene. Abilene became the first of the wild cattle towns where gambling places, saloons, and dance halls competed for the cowboys wages. Gun fights were frequent and several peace officers resigned. The first to bring order was Tom Smith. More famous was “Wild Bill” Hickok who became known as the deadliest two-gun marshal on the Western frontier (Source: Kansas Historical Marker, Kansas State Historical Society).
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