Location: Kansas

Kansas Trail News: January 18, 2012

Kansas Trail News for January 18, 2012 from Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy:

Katy Trail Extension To KCMO Being Built

The KC Star (1-13-12) reports that 3.2 miles of the Katy Trail extension trail called the Rock Island Trail being built to the Kansas City Metro Area is now complete. The trail will run from Pleasant Hill to Windsor where it connects with the famous Katy Trail. The trail is being railbanked under the National Trails Act and will be constructed on the railroad bed instead of within the right-of-way as originally planned. This will reduce costs by about 50 percent because new bridges won’t have to be constructed. It is estimated that it will take three years to complete the Rock Island Trail to Pleasant Hill. Then efforts can begin to extend it to Lee’s Summit. Eventually it will connect with the MetroGreen trail network so that trail users will be able to ride all the way from Kansas City to St. Louis.

Iola Trail Segment On Track

Chris Weiner, resident of Iola and on the SRTC board, reports that due to the warm winter, the City of Iola has been able to start construction on the 1.5-mile Prairie Spirit Trail Extension segment lying within the city limits. Concrete is being poured for the base and asphalt will be laid on top. If the good weather holds, it should be finished by the end of March. Otherwise it will be completed by the end of May. Thrive Allen County has applied for two grants to build the remaining portion of the Prairie Spirit Trail Extension (6.5 miles)l south to Humboldt.

Trails For Scenic Byways

Becky Pepper, KDOT’s bike-ped coordinator, reports that KDOT has applied for a federal grant to prepare a plan for building multi-use paths along official Kansas Scenic Byways. If the grant is received and funds become available for pathway development, some of these paths could possibly connect rail-trails. One example is the Prairie Trail Byway which could connect the Meadowlark Trail in Lindsborg with the undeveloped Quivira Trail which stretches 38 miles between Lyons and Beaver. Also, a path could be built along the Flint Hills Scenic Byway from the Flint Hills Nature Trail to the Tallgrass National Prairie Preserve. See: www.ksbyways.org

Transportation Enhancement Funds Available Again

Becky Pepper, KDOT’s bike-ped coordinator, reports that KDOT has decided that federal funding is now secure for another round of TE grants. The grant application deadline will probably be in either the summer or fall, 2012. Many Kansas cities and towns such as Topeka, Lawrence, Iola and Lindsborg, have used TE funds to be build rail-trails and other multi-use paths.

National Recreation Trail Program Funds Now Available

Mary Hanson, outdoor recreation planner for the Omaha regional office of the National Park Service, reports that there isn’t a Kansas state-imposed moratorium currently in place on using federal National Recreational Trail and Land and Water Conservation Fund Program funds for rails-to-trails projects. A state moratorium was imposed in the 1990s, but apparently has been lifted. Kansas Dept. of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism administers the funds.

Kanza Receives $18,000 Grant

Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy has announced that it has received an $18,000 grant from the Lattner Family Foundation based in Delray Beach, Florida to build a section of the Landon Nature Trail which stretches 38 miles between Topeka and Pomona Lake. “We are very excited about this generous grant from the Lattner Family Foundation,” offered Karl Umscheid, Overbrook Superintendent.

“We hope to start construction in the spring. Once this segment between Overbrook and Wolf Creek is completed we expect that the community of Overbrook will rally behind our efforts to complete the trail to Pomona Lake.”

The Landon Nature Trail crosses the Santa Fe National Historic Trail at Overbrook where trail swales (ruts) can be seen in the nearby cemetery. It is hoped a short side trail can be built to the swales and a community park which contains a lake.

Landon Trail In Topeka Progresses

The City of Topeka has completed the Landon Nature Trail in Topeka to 45th St. The trail crosses the Union Ferry Branch of the Oregon National Historic Trail north of SE 42nd St. A sign announcing this historic crossing could be placed on the Landon Trail. The next phase is from 45th to Sanneman Drive where KRTC’s section begins and is essentially completed to the Clinton Wildlife Area. The City of Topeka leases 4.6 miles from the Conservancy.

Kansas Trail NewsKansas Trail News is published 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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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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