Location: Kansas

Kansas Trail News: April 7, 2011

Kansas Trail News for April 7, 2011 from Sunflower Recreational Trails:

Cecile Kellenbarger Now Walking Heavenly Trail

Ruth Holliday with the Wichita-based Prairie Travelers reports the following:

Cecile Kellenbarger Moore passed away peacefully the morning of April 4 at her home, where her husband John Moore had kept her in a familiar setting with family.

As a biking community, her drive and energy will be missed. I would venture to say that the Prairie Sunset Trail exists in large part because of her persistence in front of countless city councils and phone calls to community leaders. Nothing would make her happier than if we made Kansas a more bike and trail friendly state. A memorial will be established to finish our covered bridge on the Prairie Sunset Trail.

Larry Ross remembers Cecile as being “active in Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy and KanBikeWalk as well. Every time each of us goes around the bend, we fully expect Cecile and her never-ending smile. She was indeed one of a kind. She was a natural networker with vision and persistence in bicycling activities and rails-to-trails statewide. Our sympathies go out to her husband, John Moore.”

Trail enthusiasts can send memorials to: Prairie Travelers, Inc. (P.O. Box 78-1033, Wichita, KS 67278) or Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy, Inc. (P.O. Box 44-2043, Lawrence, KS 66044).

Katy Trail Section Reopens

Long-delayed Katy Trail section reopens

By Mark Schlinkmann, St. Louis Post-Dispatch Sunday, April 3, 2011

St. Charles — The 11-mile easternmost segment of the Katy Trail in St. Charles County is finally available to bicyclists and hikers, following years of weather-related construction delays and funding problems.

Gov. Jay Nixon and his wife, Georgeanne Nixon, will take part in an opening ceremony at 10:30 this morning at DuSable City Park in St. Charles. The segment is between St. Charles and the Machens area, between the Missouri and the Mississippi rivers.

A news release from the governor’s office calls the opening “a major milestone” for the 21-year-old trail and state park, which now is 240 miles long between Machens and its western terminus at Clinton, Mo.

Work was completed recently on the final three-mile portion of the 11-mile segment, using $370,000 in federal economic stimulus money awarded last year.

Much of the 11-mile segment was finished years ago, but floods in 1993 and 1995 washed away parts of the trail right of way. Two large gaps were created by floodwater. The segment has been shown on trail maps as a dotted line.

The state several years ago routed the trail around one washout, and the recent work dealt with the other.

The trail statewide follows the route of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, commonly known as the Katy, which stopped operating in 1986.

Kansas Parks Provide Sound Return On Investment

Study: Kansas parks provide sound return on investment

By Christine Metz, Lawrence Journal-World, March 19, 2011

Most of us value parks for their beauty and tranquility. But a recent study by Kansas University business students found that for Kansas parks, residents might want to add smart economic investment to the list.

KU’s Jayhawk Consulting group found that for every $1 invested in parks and recreation, there is a $1.70 return.

The study was commissioned by the Kansas Recreation and Park Association, a nonprofit group that wanted to take a look at the value of green space in Kansas.

“We’ve always felt that they are an essential service to our communities. This gives us supporting data that it has an economic value,” said Doug Vance, who is the executive director for the Kansas Recreation and Park Association.

Students found that for every $1 spent on programs, facilities, activities and employees, $1.70 was returned to the economy. They worked off a model that is frequently used by other state agencies.

Vance said the Kansas Recreation and Park Association is already using the data in an effort to convince lawmakers to invest more in parks and recreation. He was meeting with groups in Washington, D.C., this week where he presented the findings.

“It’s a good resource. You have to — as an industry, as an organization — explain the economic value in today’s economic times,” Vance said.

The research also showed that real estate values go up in Kansas for property owners who live near green space. In different cities throughout Kansas, the students looked at housing prices for homes next to a park, a mile away and three miles away.

“What we found is a direct correlation on housing value and proximity to parks,” said Wally Meyer, director of Entrepreneurship Programs at KU’s School of Business. “The closer you are to a park, the higher the value of homes.”

Even without the boost to the economy, the study found that parks and recreation provides healthy benefits. According to surveys, 73 percent of Kansas residents use recreation and park services at least once a week, and 60 percent factored in the lower cost when using the facilities.

Exercise was given as the No. 1 reason for using parks and recreation. Without the facilities, 31 percent of those surveyed said they would do nothing and 66 percent said they would find a substitute program that would cost more.

Meadowlark Trail Work Day A Success

Artie Streit with Central Kansas Conservancy reports the following:

“Central Kansas Conservancy directors and volunteers assisted with and offered support to our high school student volunteers and their adult sponsors as they participated in their Citizenship Day activities and provided some absolutely wonderful man-hours to perform much needed and appreciated work on the Sunset Walk of the Meadowlark Trail!! The trail section is now open and passable in a primitive state (with original rock ballast) for three miles from Moccasin Rd. in McPherson north to Overland Rd. The bridge looks great, but needs a few finishing touches. We’ve lined up some donated handrails that, when available to us, will take about a day’s worth of construction to install.

Joye Walker built a trailhead information box for the Sunset Walk end similar to the one she has mounted on the Galva west trailhead for the Sunflower Santa Fe Trail as well as a covered pamphlet box that we mounted as our last activity this afternoon. We’re off and hiking! Spread the word, we need more volunteers and people to start using the trail.”

Conservation Easement Near Tallgrass Prairie Nat’l Preserve Acquired

“In late December, the Conservancy closed on two conservation easements totaling over 5,200 acres in the Flint Hills. The first easement is on the nearly 3,200-acre Robbins Ranch situated in Chase and Morris counties, just northwest of the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. Owned by Kay Lauer, the property is important to protect because of its high quality tallgrass prairie habitat and proximity to the preserve.”

(Excerpted from Kansas: The Plainskeeper, newsletter of the Kansas Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, Spring/Summer, 2011)

Konza Prairie Wildflower Walk

Friends of the Konza Prairie Wildflower Walk will be held on Sunday June 5 at the Konza Prairie near Manhattan from 6:30 p.m. to sunset. This is the peak of the tallgrass prairie wildlife season. Participants will walk on the extensive trail network through the upland prairie. Cost is $7 per person. To register contact Annie Baker at keep.konza.ksu.edu.

2011 Tours Of Tallgrass Prairie Nat’l Preserve

There will be prairie bus tours at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve north of Strong City on Saturday, April 30 and Sunday, October 30. The tours will begin at 11:00 a.m. and last until 12:30 p.m. Additional tour times at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. as staffing permits. The preserve now has a herd of bison and many more miles of hiking trails. The new visitor center will be under construction later this year. Please call ahead to 620-273-8494 to ensure tour availability.

Preserving Wilderness In The Sunflower State

“Consider what actions you could take, large or small, to help create a wilder, more beautiful America. Is there a place—a forest, grassland, or marsh—where wild creatures are today at home, but with no protections from the bulldozers of tomorrow? Do you know a piece of abused land that might be healed if someone were to buy it, and offer its kindly care? What could you do to pass along the gift of wildness?”

Wildlands Philanthropy: The Great American Tradition (2008) by Tom Butler & Antonio Vizcaino.

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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