Kansas Trail News for March 17, 2011 from Sunflower Recreational Trails:
High Trestle Trail’s Grand Opening
The following appeared in the Rails to Trails Magazine (Spring/Summer, 2011):
If you’ve floated down the Des Moines River recently between Madrid and Woodward in Iowa, you may have noticed a colossal new bridge soaring about you. The half-mile, 13-story-high structure—one of the largest pedestrian bridges in the world—is the namesake and finishing touch on central Iowa’s newest rail-trail, the High Trestle Trail. Running from Woodward to Ankey, the 15-mile High Trestle Trail is part of a 640-mile trail system around Des Moines and central Iowa. The trail’s grand-opening celebration is scheduled for April 30, which special events planned in all five towns along the corridor. If you are attending, you can pick up a “passport” to mark your visit to each community. To learn more about the trail and opening celebration, contact the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation at 515.288.1846 or visit inhf.org.
- Length & surface: 25 miles; asphalt, concrete
- End points: Ankeny to Woodward
- Website: hightrestletrail.info
America’s Great Outdoors Plan
Ken Salazar, secretary of the US Dept. of Interior was recently addressed the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference held in Kansas City. This is excerpted from the Kansas City Star (3-17-11):
Salazar bases much of his optimism on an ambitious blueprint called America’s Great Outdoors that he helped draft for President Barack Obama. Among the provisions, outlined in a report that Obama recently released:
- The outdoors would be brought to urban areas, where much of the nation’s population resides, through grand urban parks.
- Youth would be encouraged to get involved in the outdoors through a Conservation Service Corps, which would provide youngsters with jobs in land and water conservation.
- Innovative ways of funding conservation projects, such as partnerships between government, communities and businesses, would be explored.
- The America’s Great Outdoors National Recreational Blueways Trails Initiative would be created to give priority to portions of rivers as recreational destinations that would receive aid for restoration and access projects.
- A council would be created to ensure that federal agencies collaborate on conservation and recreation projects.
Kansas’ First Rail-Trail Celebrates 20th Anniversary
Twenty years ago this month Kansas’ first developed rail-trail opened. The Haskell Rail-Trail was dedicated in March, 1991 by Fred DeVictor, Lawrence Parks and Recreation Director, and Larry Ross and Clark Coan with the Rails-to-Trails Coalition of Kansas (now Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy). The one-mile, crushed limestone trail is on the east side of Haskell Indian Nations University and connects with the paved, 2.5-mile Burroughs Creek Trail at 23rd St. and Leonard Ave. Ross, Coan and the Lawrence Bike Club convinced the Lawrence City Commission to approve the project. The City then railbanked the line and subsequently purchased the tracks and ballast from the Santa Fe Railway at a substantial discount. The City then sold the tracks to a salvager for premium with the proceeds being plowed back into trail development. Thus, the City ended up spending very little money on developing the trail.
Kanza Receives $30,000 Grant For Flint Hills Trail
Karen DeOrnellas, Lyco Division Superintendent of Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy, reports that the Conservancy has received a $30,000 grant from the Emporia-based Trusler Foundation to build the Flint Hills Nature Trail 5.5-miles from Miller to Admire (north of Emporia). A $25,000 Kansas Health Foundation grant will also cover a portion of the development expense for this section. Further, going westward from Admire, the trail is already developed 10 miles to Bushong. Beginning at Bushong, the trail west to Kaw Heritage Park, part of which lies in Lyon County and part in Morris County, is being completed with a $76,000 Jones Trust grant. Once the 5.5 mile section of this project and the Bushong – Kaw Park section are completed, a 30 mile stretch of trail between the eastern border of Lyon County and Council Grove will open for the enjoyment of the public.
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