Location: Kansas

Kansas Trail News: September 10, 2010

Kansas Trail News for September 10, 2010 from Sunflower Recreational Trails:

Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy, Inc. Meeting September 18th

Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy will be holding its fall meeting on Saturday Sept. 18 in the Valley Cafe in Marquette (west of Lindsborg which is south of Salina). The lunch meeting will be held at 11:30 a.m. and end at 2:30 p.m. All trails enthusiasts are invited to attend. A field trip on the Marquette rail-trail will follow the meeting.

First Citywide Festival On The Flint Hills Nature Trail

The thriving metropolis of Admire north of Emporia will be holding its first citywide fall festival on the Flint Hills Trail on Saturday, October 9. The festival features an 8 or 20-mile bike race on the FHNT starting at 9:00 a.m. and a 5K walk/run on the trail starting at 8:00 a.m. A spaghetti dinner will be held at 5:30 pm in the community building.

Pittsburg Watco Rail-Trail Moving Forward

The following was published in the Joplin Globe.

Pittsburg trail project nearing completion

No doubt every member of Pittsburg Beautiful, the Pittsburg city commissioners and officials at Watco Companies Inc. are either thinking it or perhaps have vocalized it. Visible work finally has been completed on the collaborative hiking-biking trail project that seemed to have no end in sight. Everyone involved knew it would be an investment in the community. If only it could get started. Really started.

Like the little engine that could, the project seemed to pick up steam last year, then faced a delay. It picked up steam again in February and again in May, only to face more delays. Now that engine is nearing the peak of the mountain, and it appears it might just make it over the top sometime this fall.

The trail follows an old railroad right of way from First and Georgia streets (in a residential area in southwest Pittsburg) to 11th Street and Broadway near Pittsburg Community Middle School and St. Mary’s-Colgan, where the trail, the schools and the north part of downtown converge.

The route previously was used by Watco, a short-line railway operation based in Pittsburg. When finished, the trail will allow for easy access to Leffler Park, a midtown hangout popular with youths because of its basketball courts, playground and unit shelter.

Watco, owned by the Webb family — also instrumental in developing Immigrant Park on the south end of the downtown area — donated the land for the hiking-biking trail and is assisting in securing paving for it through Heckert Construction.

The bulk of the trail work was funded by a $10,000 grant from the Pritchett Trust Fund (established to support projects that have direct community impact) and a $10,000 grant from the Sunflower Foundation Fund (which serves health care-related projects in Kansas). Pittsburg Beautiful also pledged funding to help complete it.

A few weeks ago, crews poured curbing and a base under the pergola, and when the weather cools a bit, the city will get volunteer help with the bricklaying underneath it by Fire Chief/local bricklayer Scott Crain.

Once curbs surrounding the trail head area are in, crews will lay the parking lot, and dirt work and irrigation will follow.

At the most recent City Commission meeting, Public Works Director Bill Beasley requested that the typical bid procedure be waived in order to allow for the next phase of the project: getting plantings in during the fall growing season.

Tuesday, he’ll report to the commission on bids received for sidewalk construction, and he will request permission to award the contract to the lowest bidder that meets the project specifications.

Here’s hoping that little engine tops the mountain soon and puffs steadily down the other side to project completion, resulting in an attractive, functional and creative north “entrance” to downtown Pittsburg and a positive addition to the community’s quality of life.

And then, Pittsburg Beautiful, the City Commission and officials at Watco can say with a smile: “We thought we could. We thought we could. We thought we could.”

New State Park With Trails Opens

Park on former Menninger grounds in Topeka opens Saturday

Topeka — Just minutes from downtown, the state is opening a new park that has miles of trails, abundant wildlife and a boat ramp on the Kansas River.

The Kaw River State Park was dedicated at 10:30 a.m. Saturday Sept. 4 by Gov. Mark Parkinson.

But before that, there will be the inaugural Kaw River Run, a four-mile run and two-mile walk with entry fees going to the adult education program of Let’s Help of Topeka. That started at 8 a.m.

After the park dedication, the new boat ramp was dedicated at 11:30 a.m., and a canoe flotilla will paddle down the Kansas River to the Great Overland Station on Kansas Avenue.

The park, under development since 2007, is at 5630 SW Sixth Ave. — at the former location of the Menninger clinic, which moved its operations to Houston.

The Kaw River State Park is a day-use park that is free and open to the public daily from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m.

“Trails Capital Of Kansas” Symposium In Marysville

Travis Boley reports the following:

The Oregon-California Trails Association‘s “Trails Capital of Kansas Symposium” in Marysville will be held at the Army National Guard Armory from Friday, October 8 through Sunday, October 10. Speakers and tours will focus on historic trails along the Kansas and Nebraska border, including the Oregon Trail, California Trail, Pony Express, routes used by Mormons, the military, cattle trails, and the short-lived Oketo Cutoff, which was used by Ben Holladay’s 1860s stagecoach line. The award-winning docudrama, a new film about teenagers on the Oregon Trail, will screen on Friday evening. Saturday morning will kick off with five speakers, while the afternoon will feature a tour of Alcove Spring, one of the most famous sites on the Oregon-California Trail. It is best known as a campground for the ill-fated Donner Party. Today, visitors can still see a rock inscription carved by James Reed in May 1846, and Alcove Spring is also the final resting place for Sarah Keyes, who was the first fatality in the Donner-Reed wagon train.

Dr. Michael Tate, professor of history at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, will deliver the keynote address at a banquet on Saturday evening, and Sunday will conclude with guided trail tours both south and north of Marysville. The event is expected to draw over 100 trail enthusiasts from around the country, and early registrations already include visitors from Wyoming and Indiana. The main symposium goal is to increase awareness and protection of historic trails in Kansas and Nebraska.

Registration materials and complete event information are available by calling toll free at (888) 811-6282, or see registration information and the symposium schedule at eventville.com.

Iowa Rails To Trails

The Iowa Rails to Trails organization was created in the mid 1970s with it effort largely devoted to the establishment of the Cedar Valley Nature Trail. From this organization developed the Iowa Trails Council, resulting in over 700 miles of rail-trails in Iowa, located within more than 50 former railroad corridors. (Iowa Trails Council brochure).

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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About The Author

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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