Location: Kansas

Kansas Trail News: February 17, 2011

Kansas Trail News for February 17, 2011 from Sunflower Recreational Trails:

Upcoming Sunflower Rail-Trails Meeting

All trails enthusiasts are invited to attend the spring meeting of Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy on March 5 in historic Cottonwood Falls, nestled in the scenic Flint Hills. Items for discussion include the Railbanking Initiative; the Strategic Plan; and the State Rail-Trails Plan. A field trip following the meeting will held on the Community Connections Trail, a three-mile section of a regional multi-use trail connecting Cottonwood Falls, Strong City and the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. The meeting begins at 11:00 a.m. in the restored Grand Central Hotel.

Support Grows For More Trails Funding

An article in Blue Sky, Green Earth: a resource for sustainable living (Winter 2010) by Kelly Barth states: ”A 2008 survey conducted by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy shows that though respondents indicated they would like to see only 37 percent of transportation tax dollars dedicated to roads and the rest to mass transit and pedestrian and biking accessibility, currently 79 percent is dedicated to roads. Source: (www.railstotrails.org/resources/documents/whatwedo/atfa/ATFA_20081020.pdf)

Safe Routes To School

In 2005, a survey conducted by the National Center for Bicycling and Walking found that “while 71% of adults walked or rode their bicycles to school as a child, a mere 17% of their own children currently do so. (www.bikewalk.org/forum.php). While it’s true some parents said stranger-danger kept them from allowing their children the same freedoms they enjoyed, many said they primarily feared for their safety in traffic. That’s why Congress passed the Safe Routes to School program which funds programs to build sidewalks and multipurpose paths linking neighborhoods with schools. (saferoutesinfo.org). Parents are also organizing Walking School Buses: walkingschoolbus.org.

“New Normal” Tourism Conference

This workshop is scheduled for 2 days (Friday, March 18 and Saturday, March 19) and will take place on the K.U. Edwards Campus in Overland Park, Kansas.

The workshop/seminar is designed with the small to medium-sized destination, attraction, lodging marketer, or destination marketing organization (dmo) in mind.

The old, reliable tourist of the past 25 years doesn’t exist anymore – at least not in large numbers. The after-effects of 3 years of economic turmoil, fluctuating gas prices, and flat or decreased income has created a new tourist – and a new travel mindset.

The potential visitor to your attraction, city, or destination is not looking for the same opportunities that existed just 3 years ago. The market has changed and you must adjust to stay competitive.

The “New Normal” is here to stay and you need to get prepared beginning in 2011.

Registration for this 2-day event is $145.00 per person which includes lunch both days and conference materials. Discounts are available for 3 or more attendees from the same organization.

For more registration information, or just to ask questions, email or call David K. Reynolds at dkreynolds@earthlink.net or 816-255-2362 or dkreynolds.com.

Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy Received $183,000 In 2010

Clark Coan, Director of Development for Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy, reports that KRTC received nearly $183,000 in grants from foundations and trusts in 2010. The funds are being used to develop the Flint Hills and Landon Nature Trails. “Financial support for trails is growing in the Sunflower State,” says Coan. Health foundations see the wisdom in encouraging people to exercise outdoors on trails.”

Bill Would Limit Parkland Acquisitions

House Bill 2149 would prohibit the Kansas Dept. of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism from purchasing more than 160 acres without legislative approval. Currently the department can purchase up to 640 acres of land. That limit is removed if the land can be purchased below appraised value. However, the bill would also remove that exemption. Michael Pearce in the Wichita Eagle (2-13-11) says this about the bill:

Pro: It would keep the department from buying lands that could be used in agriculture by private individuals.

Cons: Kansas ranks last in the nation for public lands. The change would make it even harder to add more.

Editor’s note: As the Kansas urban population continues to grow, demand for access to recreational lands will also increase. So, it is imperative that more land be available to the public for recreation. It is thought that the Kansas Farm Bureau and Kansas Livestock Assn. are behind this bill.

Support A Walkable America

An organization called America Walks (americawalks.org) is working to make a Walkable America. Below is their vision statement.

By 2020, walking in everyday life is embraced across America. Streets and neighborhoods are safe and attractive public places that encourage people of all ages, abilities, ethnicities, and incomes to walk for exercise, recreation, and transportation. Walkable community policies promote health, economic vitality, environmental sustainability, and social equity.

The following principles are key to achieving our vision of a walkable America:

  1. Transportation systems will provide accessibility and mobility for all
  2. People of all abilities will be able to safely walk along and to cross all streets
  3. Communities of all sizes will be designed on a human scale, to encourage social interaction and commerce
  4. States and cities will revise existing transportation and development policies, standards, and programs to encourage walking, bicycling, and transit use
  5. Transportation and development design decisions will explicitly consider public health outcomes
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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