Location: Kansas

Kansas Trail News: November 16, 2012

Kansas Trail News for November 16, 2012 from Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy:

Rock Chalk Park Sports Complex In Lawrence To Offer 5 Miles Of Trails

The City of Lawrence in collaboration with the University of Kansas is creating a 100-acre sports complex in far west Lawrence. The City has agreed to pay $25 million for a 181,000 square-foot recreation center/youth fieldhouse, eight lighted tennis courts, and five miles of walking trails. KU is going also going to build facilities, which will include a track and field stadium, a soccer field and a softball stadium.

Ottawa Called A Top Place To Retire Partly Due To 200 Miles Of Rail-Trails

The November 2012 issue of Money Magazine’s front cover is entitled: Best Places to Retire and on page 85 of the magazine it has “Best Places to Retire,The Top 20/Small Towns”. Ottawa, Kansas is listed: Biggest Draws: “Architecturally rich buildings and 200 miles of converted rail-trails”. That description isn’t exactly correct. Only the 52-mile Prairie Spirit Trail is complete, but when the Flint Hills and Landon Nature Trails are completed there will indeed be a 200-mile interconnected network of rail-trails. The Prairie Spirit Trail with its trailhead in the Old Depot Museum in Ottawa and a 16-mile segment of the Flint Hills Nature Trail between Ottawa and Osawatomie are already completed. There are few regions in the country that can boast of a 200-mile rail-trail network. Also, The City of Ottawa is planning to develop the two miles of the FHNT lying within the city limits.

Rails-To-Trails Conservancy’s Legal Program

The following appeared in the national Rails-to-Trails Magazine (Winter.13):

“RTC’s Legal Program, headed by longtime General Counsel Andrea Ferster and a host of pro bono attorneys, has helped secure the legal foundations for rail-trail development since the organization’s founding in 1986. Though not as well publicized as some of RTC’s other trail-building and policy work, the Legal Program plays a critical role in identifying, monitoring, and participating in cases or legal proceedings that potentially affect the policy framework for rail-trail conversions in the courts and before administrative agencies.

If your trail project has encountered a legal challenge, please contact Jake Lynch at jake@railstotrails.org or 202.974.5107. Even if RTC is unable to take a direct role, our resources and experience could help ensure the long-term success of your trail and, more broadly, the rail-trail movement.”

Illinois Prairie Path Turns 50!

The 62-mile Illinois Prairie Path turned 50 in October. It was the first rail-trail in the nation.

Minneapolis Rail-Trail Helps Increase Ridership

The 5.5-mile Midtown Greenway (a super bikeway) in Minneapolis has helped boost bicycle ridership in the metropolitan area. Between 2007 and 2011, bike traffic in the city grew by an amazing 47%. In fact, Minneapolis now has the second highest population of bike commuters in the nation, behind Portland, Ore. The city boasts 167 miles of bikeways and riders even bike in the winter as the City removes snow from the bikeways immediately after a snow. Riders also find that it isn’t that cold because the exercise warms them up. Source: Rails-to-Trails Magazine (Winter.13).

Kansans Are Generous

Kansas ranked 9th in charitable giving in 2011. Using IRS data the Urban Institute found that the average Kansas taxpayer donated $1,223 in 2011. This compares with only $612 in Maine and $672 in North Dakota. Maryland ranked first with $1,667 (if you exclude Utah where the Mormon Church requires members to tithe).

Bicycling Stamps Promote Healthy Lifestyle

One of the nation’s most popular outdoor activities gets its stamp of approval today from the U.S. Postal Service with the issuance of the Bicycling Forever stamps. The four stamps feature a young child just learning to ride with training wheels, a commuter pedaling to work, a road racer intent on the finish line and an airborne BMX rider.

Available nationwide, the stamps can be purchased online at usps.com/shop, by calling 1-800-STAMP-24 (1-800-782-6724) or by visiting Post Offices.

Pipelines Benefit Rail-Trails

Rail-trails in Kansas are benefiting from oil pipeline easements. SRTC is expected to receive $1,500 for granting a pipeline easement east of Coldwater on the Short Grass Prairie Trail. The company intends to drill under the old railroad bed which keeps surface disturbance down. Marshall County Connections which manages the Blue River Rail Trail in Marshall county reportedly received $3,000 for a Keystone pipeline easement. When negotiating with the company be sure to inform them that the trail manager only holds title to surface rights and not subsurface rights. Urge them to also get easements to the subsurface rights from the adjacent property owners.

Nature Conservancy Conserves Flint Hills In 2012

The Kansas chapter of The Nature Conservancy “initiated four new conservation easements in the Flint Hills in 2012. Two of these easements will likely be completed by January 2013, ensuring another 11,900 acres of tallgrass prairie is permanently maintained in its native state.” (TNC, Kansas Update, 2012).

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]

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