Kansas Trail News for April 7, 2011 from Sunflower Recreational Trails:
New State Law Promotes Safety For Bicyclists
Effective July 1, motorists will be required to provide a minimum three-foot distance when passing bicyclists. Also, the law has another provision called Dead Red, which allows bicyclists and motorcyclists who are stuck at a traffic signal that won’t detect or change for them, to proceed when safe. Of course, there are usually pedestrian crosswalk buttons that can be pushed by bicyclists to trigger green lights.
Construction Of Landon Trail In Topeka Underway
Construction has started on the final phase of the Landon Nature Trail within the city limits of Topeka. Bill Riphahn with Topeka Parks and Recreation reported on April 12, 2011, “The contractor started about three or four weeks ago and all is going well. This segment will finish the city’s segment of the Landon Trail going all the way to Topeka City limits.”
John Purvis, President of Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy, reports that “KDOT has funded development of the 10-foot-wide concrete path in Topeka all the way from 25th Street to 49th Street (city limits) where Kanza’s section begins. The project takes care of the one bridge left undone at 45th Street (a total of 3 bridges will be rebuilt). The project was mostly funded by KDOT’s allocation of $1.1 million federal ARRA stimulus funding and the City’s match of $100,000.”
Purvis further says, “This is a huge step for the Landon Trail as it will enable trail users in West Topeka to travel east on the Shunga Trail and then south on the 38-mile Landon Trail all the way to the Clinton Wildlife Area. It is expected that with completion of the project this year, trail usage on Kanza’s section will soar thereby increasing volunteers and funding.”
The Landon Nature Trail corridor, dubbed Freedom’s Pathway within Topeka, links the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site at Monroe School with the historic Ritchie House. “John and Mary Ritchie were passionate abolitionists, befriending John Brown who visited this home early in 1859 with a group of escaped slaves. The Ritchie stone house was known as a haven for those seeking freedom. After the Civil War, Ritchie made housing lots available to freed slaves and a neighborhood of African Americans sprang up near his home.”
The Landon Trail intersects the Shunga Trail at a bicycle roundabout just east of Kansas Ave. at 20th Street. The trail also crosses a branch of the Oregon-California National Historic Trail in south Topeka. The Conservancy leased 4.6 miles of the Landon Trail to the City of Topeka in 2000 for a term of 99 years.
Wilderness Conservation Initiative Blocked By Budget Deal
In a previous edition of Kansas Trails News it was reported that a new Dept. of Interior initiative to identify potential National Wilderness Areas (called “Wild Lands”) had been approved by Secretary Ken Salazar. Those wild lands could then be submitted to Congress for possible approval for inclusion in the National Wilderness Area System. However, the budget deal reached with Congressional leaders and President Obama would block the expenditure of any federal funds for inventorying public BLM lands. Unless funding is later restored or other funds found (such as private funds from conservation foundations), the wilderness preservation initiative (Secretarial Order 3310) is on hold. There are thousands of miles back country trails on these wild lands.
University Of Kansas Campus To Have Bike Rentals
The KUnited coalition won the KU student senate elections this month. Here is one of their platform planks:
Bike Rentals On Campus: “With a KU ID, a student will be able to check out a bike for either a short-term or long-term rental. There will be designated spaces for parking the bikes across campus and locks to use if the bikes are taken throughout the community. KU prides itself on having one of the most efficient transit operations in the country. However, with an extremely efficient system comes the inevitable problem that some students get left behind, because demand is too high. In an effort to provide a healthy and sustainable alternative to driving and busing across campus, KUnited will work with Parking & Transit and the Student Senate to bring bike rentals to KU! This option has the ability to save students time and money, and provide healthy and sustainable transportation.”
National Conservation Lands
The following is excerpted from the Conservation Lands Foundation website:
The National Conservation Lands (formally the National Landscape Conservation System) is the nation’s newest, permanently protected collection of public lands- 28 million acres of nationally significant landscapes set aside for current and future generations because of their outstanding cultural, ecological and scientific importance. The National Conservation Lands consist of the last places where you can experience the history of the American West. From the rivers which Lewis and Clark explored, to pioneer trails, to Native American sites, the heritage and beauty of these places are safeguarded for all to see.
First established by Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt in 2000 and made permanent by an act of Congress in 2009, the National Conservation Lands join the existing National Park System and National Wildlife Refuge System as another way Americans can preserve and enjoy their history and their land. It reflects our new understanding that truly conserving natural and cultural values means protecting large landscapes – entire ecosystems and archaeological districts – more than small, isolated tracts surrounded by development. And it encourages the increasingly rare opportunity for Americans to escape crowds and create their own outdoor adventures in the wild beauty of the West, as well as providing unique resources for study to scientists and students of all ages.
Work On Marquette Rail-Trail To Start
Fred Peterson, Marquette City Clerk, reports that work will start this year on the west end of the city’s two-mile rail-trail. The first project is to deck and rail a bridge. The working name for the recreational trail is the Three Bridges Trail. Peterson is also working on building an eight-mile trail tentatively called the Smoky Hill Recreational Trail from Marquette to Lindsborg in the old K-4 right-of-way. However, funds will first have to be obtained for an engineering study. The trail would connect with the Meadowlark and Valkommen Trails in Lindsborg. A long-term vision is to connect Marquette with the 117-mile Flint Hills Nature Trail which has its western trailhead in Herington and extends to Osawatomie.