Location: Kansas

Kansas Trail News: July 6, 2010

Kansas Trail News for July 6, 2010 from Sunflower Recreational Trails:

KDOT Funds Topeka Landon Trail Section

Terry Bertles, Director of Topeka Parks and Recreation, reports that the City was “approved by the federal government to improve the Landon Nature Trail from SE 25th to SE 45th as an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) project. It is a 100% funded project and takes the trail to the end of the designed portions of the trail. The project must be bid by September 30 to qualify. Everything is moving ahead to have this done. City staff will have to go back to City Council for an amended project budget.”

John Purvis, Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy President, states “that is more than 20 blocks of concrete pathway and two bridges. I believe that when the Landon is finished inside Topeka and connected with the KRTC section already developed to the Clinton Wildlife Area, it will be a complete game- changer. The north end of the Landon Trail is already connected to the Shunga Trail which crosses Topeka and connects to their other trails. It will directly connect to the new Kaw River State Park and Governor’s Mansion Trails. I believe it will increase the traffic on Kanza’s section by many orders of ten. It will be a huge increase in trail usage.”

Purvis further states, “it will also complete the second of the three parts of trail segments connecting Topeka and Lawrence. Topeka connected to the Landon and the Landon is open to Clinton Lake. The last part of that connection is the trail along the public lands of Clinton Lake to the Lawrence Trails connection at Clinton Lake Dam.”

Wichita’s Redbud Trail Update

Larry Ross, Sunflower Recreational Trails, Inc. President, reports that at the June 8 Wichita City Council meeting, the Council approved a $200,000 federal EPA grant allocated by the Kansas Dept. of Health and Environment to pave the first phase of the Redbud Trail, a 10-mile rail-trail project stretching between central Wichita and Andover. The Council also approved a $100,000 match to make the project happen. Phase I stretches 1.02 miles between the I-135 Bike Path (at Hydraulic St.) and Hillsdale Ave. Also, it expected that KDOT will announce in August whether a federal enhancement transportation grant is approved to pave Phase II which stretches .76 mi. between Hillsdale Ave. and 13th St.

Bicyclist Stabbed On Lawrence Bike Path

A 30-year-old Lawrence man was arrested June 16 for allegedly stabbing a 23-year-old Lawrence woman as she was riding her bike along the SLT Hike and Bike Path just east of Clinton Lake Dam Road. The suspect allegedly attempted to rape the Hungarian woman and stabbed her repeatedly. The victim had serious but not life-threatening injuries. Fortunately, two 2010 Lawrence High School graduates, Aidan Waugh and Nathaniel Mehl, who were jogging on the path came upon the attack and intervened. One assisted the woman and called 911 using her cell phone and the other chased the suspect. Police used a police dog to track down the man. It’s very possible that the teenagers saved the woman’s life and certainly from being raped. The suspect had staked out the path in search of a random victim.

The suspect, William Nichols, had moved to Lawrence a few months ago. He had attended St. Mary’s (Kans.) High School. Bond for Nichols was set at $500,000.

Violent crime on recreational trails is rare because heavily-used trails tend to be self-policing. That is, potential offenders don’t want any witnesses or rescuers.

Paving Complete On Lawrence’s Burroughs Creek Trail

Paving has been completed for the Burroughs Creek Trail in eastern Lawrence (just west of Haskell Ave.). All that remains is landscaping and signage south of 19th Street. So, it is now possible to ride from Hobb’s Park at 11th Street to the Haskell Rail-Trail at 23rd St. The two connecting trails total 2.5 miles. Trail advocates and planners are still analyzing possible routes for extending the trail north of 11th Street to the Kansas River. The railroad spur is still in use and a street right-of-way along Delaware St. is too narrow for a path.

Chisholm Trail Public Hearing In Abilene

Dan Larson, Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy board member, reports the following about the Chisholm Trail hearing in Abilene:

“The National Park Service is doing a feasibility study to see if the Chisholm Trail and Western Trail should be national historic trails. They would be marked and noted like the Santa Fe National Historic Trail and the Oregon-Californian National Historic Trail.

The purpose is to point at visible and accurate physical things and experiences that had to do with the trail. The Chisholm Trail is tricky because it changed from year to year due to tick fever, human settlement patterns and railroads.

There were some healthy exchanges at this meeting about the facts of the Chisholm Trail. It made it even more interesting because of that. Landowners on historical trails can get as involved as they want in sharing their trail with the public. They can not allow trespassing or they can share it with the public. It was pointed out that if one wants to get involved as a private land owner in sharing with the public, they might talk with a woman that owns Point of Rocks on the Santa Fe Trail near Springer, New Mexico. She has done a lot to share her area with the public. She would have some definite ideas about pros and cons of sharing.

First White Woman To Climb Pike’s Peak

Can you imagine how difficult this must have been? Lt. Zebulon Pike (for who the mountain is named) said the mountain could never be climbed, and his party had to turn back due to bad weather. But, on August 5, 1858, Julia Archibald Holmes became the first white woman (on record) to reach the summit of Pikes Peak, which the Indians considered a sacred place. Julia, her husband James Holmes, and two other men began their trek on August 1. Julia and James were from Lawrence, Kansas.

Wearing what she termed her “American costume” — a short calico dress, bloomers from the same material, and Indian moccasins, and a hat, she climbed.

From the summit of the peak Julia wrote a letter to her mother:

“I have accomplished the task which I marked out for myself…Nearly everyone tried to discourage me from attempting it, but I believed that I should succeed…”

Sources: Agnes Wright Spring, ed., A Bloomer Girl on Pike’s Peak, 1858: Julia Archibald Holmes, First White Woman to Climb Pike’s Peak (Denver: Western History Department, Denver Public Library, 1949), 39.

By the way she also walked the Santa Fe Trail and later became a suffragette.

Kansas Trail NewsKansas Trail News is published monthly by Clark H. Coan, Public Information Specialist for Sunflower Recreational Trails, P.O. Box 44-2043, Lawrence, KS 66044, 785-842-3458. Reprinted with permission. If you have any trail news you’d like to share, please contact us.

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By Randy Rasa, editor/webmaster at Kansas Cyclist, the web’s premier Kansas cycling information site, featuring authoritative guides to Kansas cycling clubs, bike shops, organized bike rides, touring, trails, and much more. [learn more]

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