Location: Kansas

Kansas Trail News: March 9, 2011

Kansas Trail News for March 9, 2011 from Sunflower Recreational Trails:

$3,000 Trail Grants Approved

Scott Allen, Neosho Valley Superintendent with Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy, reports that Council Grove has received a $3,000 Get It – Do It! Grant from K-State Research and Extension to clean up and block vehicular access to the first section of the Flint Hills Nature Trail in Council Grove. The grant will be administered through the local PRIDE Organization. Shannon Allen will be spearheading the clean-up of the trail head with assistance from the local Cub Scouts and has plans to plant some easy to maintain plants and grasses in the trailhead area. They will also be working with other volunteers and youth to clean the trail and block off traffic from Council Grove to the Kaw Heritage Park and have plans to develop a couple of side trails in the wide section adjacent to town.

Sandra Tyne, who works at the local Recreation Center, is also involved in the project. She is putting together a volunteer group with the first work day scheduled for this Saturday, March 12, weather permitting.

Finally, Smith Center has received a grant to design and construct a nature/fitness trail. There were 11 applications and seven grants approved statewide.

New Federal Program Encourages Doctors To ‘Prescribe Nature’

A new federal program is encouraging doctors and nurse practitioners to give families ‘nature prescriptions’. The program is designed to get families out into national parks and national wildlife refuges where they explore nature and end up losing weight and gain other benefits. Below are some excerpts from an article in USA Today (2-28-11):

Federal program gives families ‘nature prescriptions’
By Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA TODAY

More than 100 of the 553 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Refuges such as Moapa are part of a national consortium of federal parks and the National Environmental Education Foundation now using this prescription tactic. It’s funded by a $75,000 grant to improve family health through a two-year pilot project linking the federal agencies with health care providers. The aim is to turn doctors, nurses, teachers and therapists into “nature champions” who steer children and their parents into the outdoors.

It’s a whole lot more than just saying, “take a hike.”

The prescription, an “Rx for healthy living,” prompts families to eat more fruits and vegetables, step away from the TV or video screen and go outside to breathe fresh air, awaken their senses, and shed some weight.

Using the prescription format gives the psychological oomph of doctor’s orders to simple suggestions for diet and workouts disguised as nature walks. Each prescription comes with easy-to-follow maps to nearby refuges and parks where outdoor experiences are led by rangers and volunteers.

“A prescription makes a phenomenal difference. It says, ‘Rx for healthy and active outdoor living.’ Once you get kids outdoors, away from the inner city, they are just completely bamboozled by the science and the natural world and they never think they are exercising,” says Kohn, who will start sending out prescriptions as soon at the Spanish translations are available.

In Santa Clara, Calif, Kaiser Permanente clinic pediatrician Charles Owyang has already written 67 prescriptions to the Don Edwards Preserve, an urban nature enclave in the San Francisco Bay Area. Owyang also teaches other doctors about studies that show outdoor activities have intellectual and emotional benefits, too — brightening kids’ moods, sharpening their concentration and cutting down on stress.

Blue River Rail Trail Update

Steve O’Neal with Marshall County Connections, reports that construction will likely begin this April on a three-mile segment of the Blue River Rail Trail which stretches from Marysville to the Nebraska State Line. Two miles are already complete and very popular with area residents. The next section will be completed by the end of the year.

Meadowlark Trail Update

Jean Kozubowski with the Lindsborg Friends of the Trail group, reports that three miles of the Meadowlark Trail (which stretches 13 miles from Lindsborg to McPherson) is open to mountain bikers and hikers. Also, it is anticipated that the first mile of crushed limestone, suitable for road bicycles and wheelchairs, will be laid this year on a very scenic stretch heading south from Lindsborg. The Meadowlark Trail connects with the Lindsborg’s paved Valkommen Trail.

TransAmerica Bicycle Trail

The TransAmerica Trail was established during the 1976 Bicentennial and is “still the greatest and most used route crossing America” according to the Adventure Cycling Association’s website.

“This classic ride offers everything you would expect from a transcontinental crossing. You’ll encounter all kinds of scenery and terrain, including ocean coastline, lush forests, high desert, mountain passes, snow-capped peaks, sweeping vistas, expansive plains, fertile farmlands, rolling hills, and wide rivers. You’ll pass through small, out-of-the-way towns in America that still serve up some of the best home-cooked meals and fresh-baked pies.”

In Kansas the route goes from Tribune, Scott City, Rush Center, Larned, Newton, Cassoday, Eureka, Toronto, Chanute and Girard. For more information go to: adventurecycling.org

Galva Section Of Sunflower Santa Fe Trail Update

Joye Walker with the Galva Friends of the Trail group, reports that on March 19 there will be a work day for the Sunflower Santa Fe Trail at Galva. Support is growing in the Galva area. Reportedly, area Mennonites are using the trail.

New STB Railbanking Rules Proposed

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board is about to issue new rules regarding railbanked rail-trails that would (1) Require joint notification by the railroad and trail manager to the STB when a Interim Trail Use Agreement is reached by the two parties; and, (2) a substitute trail sponsor must acknowledge that the interim trail use is subject to restoration and reactiviation of rail service at any time. Other minor changes are also proposed. To look at the proposed rules go to: federalregisterwatch.com

Kansas Trail NewsKansas Trail News is published monthly by Clark H. Coan, Public Information Specialist for Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy, Inc., 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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