Location: Kansas

Kansas Trail News: December 17, 2012

Kansas Trail News for December 17, 2012 from Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy:

Meadowlark Trail Has Two Miles Of Screenings Down

Joye Walker with Central Kansas Conservancy reports that the 13-mile Meadowlark Trail stretching between McPherson to Lindsborg now has limestone screenings on the first two miles going north from McPherson. This is a significant milestone for this longtime rails-to-trails project. At Lindsborg the trail will connect with the 2.5-mile Välkommen Trail and eventually the 10-mile Smoky Hill Recreational Trail stretching to Marquette which has the 2-mile Three Bridges Trail. Screenings will be installed on the latter this winter.

Haskell Rail-Trail/Burroughs Creek Trail In Lawrence Update

The City of Lawrence has submitted a $170,000 TE grant application to concrete the Haskell Rail-Trail south from the new 23rd Street bridge to 29th Street. The Burroughs Creek Trail connects with the Haskell Rail-Trail at the bridge. The Haskell Rail-Trail, lying on the east side of the Haskell Indian Nations University campus, was the first rail-trail in Kansas and dates from 1991. Currently, it has a crushed limestone surface. If the City receives the grant, this will provide a continuity of treadway surface and encourage trail users on the Burroughs Creek Trail to continue south. The ultimate goal is to use the trails to connect the Kaw and Wakarusa Rivers.

Big Multi-Site Event Proposed For National Trails Day

It has been proposed that large multi-site events be held on National Trails Day on the Prairie Spirit Trail, Flint Hills Nature Trail and Landon Nature Trail and other trails to promote the state’s rail-trails. Hundreds of trails enthusiasts would participate in the events. One such location could be the intersection of the Prairie Spirit Trail and Flint Hills Trail in Ottawa. It’s even possible that Governor Brownback and his family could walk or ride on a rail-trail to celebrate our state’s trails.

Iola-Humboldt Trail Update

Jay Kretzmeier reports the following: “Update from the South – Most all of the brush and trees have been cleared between Humboldt & Iola. Volunteers have worked almost every Saturday since mid-May. Bridge fencing will soon start. Grading may also be close at hand. While the actual ownership is not theirs, the volunteers have voted to name this section the ‘Southwind Rail Trail’ South denoting its position to the PSRT, Southwind because of those prevailing breezes, and Southwind because this geographic area already has that designation by the Kansas State University Office of Extension.

The Iola Rotary Club is applying for a Rotary grant and if funded will build a shelter on the trail somewhere close to the middle. It will also be built with all volunteer labor so that part may take a little longer to finish. I am more enthused each passing week. The bridge over Elm Creek is so unique people may come long distances just to see it. This project seems to be a model project of grant resources, limited government support, and community volunteers coming together. I hope it may serve as an example for other projects across the state.”

Andover-Augusta Rail-Trail Update

The following is taken from the Prairie Travelers newsletter (Fall/Winter, 2012):

Advocates hope to connect Andover to Augusta with the new Red Bud Trail

The newly formed Andover-Augusta Rail Trail Group has one big goal: to extend the Red Bud Trail east, with the eventual goal of a continuous 20 mile linear parkway. Eleven of the proposed trail miles are in Butler County. This section of the Red Bud Trail was rail banked many years ago, and has sat idle since then. Many sections of the trail are overgrown, rough and unrideable in their current state. However, the potential this section of trail has is remarkable, and the opportunity is now.

We need your support and help to keep this on the agenda of our city and county representatives. If we wait for KDOT funding for the entire trail, we may have a long wait. How-ever with grassroots support and volunteers from individuals and businesses, we can make this happen! We cannot let this slip out from under us. So if you are an East-sider and walker, jogger or bicyclist we need your help! We are meeting monthly in Andover, with a core group led by David Levy. Please let us know if you would like to be included in our updates and progress reports by e-mailing us at prairietravelers@yahoo.com .

Bi-State Freedom Trail Dedicated In KC

The following is excerpted from the KC Star (11/28/12):

Mayors to celebrate Freedom Trail completion

Kansas City Mayor Sly James and Unified Government Mayor Joe Reardon will join other community leaders today to celebrate completion of the bi-state Freedom Trail. The trail is part of the larger Riverfront Heritage Trail, which runs along the Missouri River waterfront through Richard L. Berkley Park and winds its way through River Market and parts of downtown.

The $1.4 million Freedom Trail portion begins at West 8th Street and Belleview Avenue, near the Faultless Starch headquarters. The trailhead features a park with native grasses, benches, sculpture, a large caboose and information about Kansas City history — including the role of the railroads and the story of Missouri slaves making their way to freedom in Kansas before the Civil War.

The completed trail follows the route of the Louis and Clark Viaduct through the West Bottoms. It connects to the Kansas portion of the trail, which was built on a new deck over the old Woodswether Bridge, crossing the Kansas River.

More information and a good map of the trail, both completed and planned phases, are available at KCRiverTrails.org.

Court Decision On Kansas Reversion Law

John Rosacker with KDOT’s Rail and Freight Unit reports that there has been a court decision that nullifies part of Kansas Railroad Law. Previously all fully abandoned rail corridors reverted to adjacent landowners, but an appeals court ruled that if the rail corridor was owned in fee simple by the railroad it does not revert. For example, there is a line between McCracken and Healy which has been abandoned and the railroad has filed a release to all claims to the title, but apparently the railroad still owns the corridor. This could impact other rail corridors, especially those acquired through federal land grants.

Contest To Build Trails To Central KC Proposed

Dale Crawford with KanBikeWalk has proposed that Kansas and Missouri enter into a friendly contest to see which state can first build trails from the Katy Trail and Flint Hills Nature Trail to central Kansas City, Missouri. The Bike Walk KC website has this:

Katy Trail Construction Update

The Star reports that 3 miles are complete and federal approval is progress for a change of plans that will make the trail even better once it’s all finished. An extension of the Katy Trail State Park from Windsor to Pleasant Hill in Kansas City’s southeast suburbs is underway. The first three mile segment of trail is complete and open for use just east of Pleasant Hill, including two new trailheads. The original plan was to construct the trail alongside the unused Rock Island Railroad, which is owned by the St. Louis utility company Ameren. This would have meant building all new bridges, culverts, etc. and putting the trail in a low area prone to flooding.

Change of plan causes delay, but for the better

Those problems led the Department of Natural Resources to rethink the plan and renegotiate with Ameren. Now the trail will be built on the actual railroad bed, just like the rest of the Katy Trail. This puts the trail up above high water, allows for the reuse of many existing bridges, and cuts construction costs in half. Now that the first 3 miles are done, we are just waitng for a federal agency to sign off on the new plan for the rest of the extension.

Final connection into Kansas City

Our long term vision is to bring the Katy Trail all the way into the city and connect it with Kansas’ Flint Hills Nature Trail, which currently reaches near Osawatomie. This last piece of trail would go through Greenwood, Lee’s Summit, and Raytown. It would end at the Truman Sports Complex, where it will eventually connect to the Brush Creek Trail to the Plaza and the Blue River Trail to the Missouri River and Downtown.

BikeWalkKC is working hard to realize this final piece of the Katy to KC connection. We are part of the Jackson County Regional Rail Coalition, which envisions a new commuter rail line alongside the trail. We are also working with regional leaders on enabling state legislation for a multi-county trails and greenway district to fund trails and bike lanes. (January 13, 2012).

Also, a trail connecting the Flint Hill Nature Trail at Osawatomie to the MetroGreen Trail Network in Johnson County could be built within the wide US 169 right-of-way.

Voters Support Conservation

The Wildlife Management Institute reports:

On November 2, Iowa voters easily passed the Water and Land Legacy Amendment, to fund future conservation efforts in the state, according to the Wildlife Management Institute. Sixty-two percent of the voters supported the proposal. The measure is estimated to produce approximately $150 million per year for conservation projects in the state. The monies can be used for wetlands restoration, water quality improvement, flood mitigation and enhancement of fish and wildlife habitats, along with other conservation efforts. Importantly, the amendment contained language that will prevent money raised for these conservation purposes from being diverted to other uses.

Across the nation, voters worried about the economy and opposed to government spending nevertheless “passed 83 percent of the ballot initiatives nationwide to fund land conservation and parks,” reported The Conservation Campaign. Of the 35 conservation initiatives on the ballot this year, 29 passed, many by very solid margins.

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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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]

One response to “Kansas Trail News: December 17, 2012”

  1. Bob Lavelle says:

    Randy, thank you for your time and effort with the Rails to Trails project. My wife and I have ridden many a mile on different trails and for the most part had wonderful experiences. I am just now getting involved with the different trail systems here in Kansas and willing to help out when I can. Let us know where I can help.

    Bob Lavelle