Location: Kansas

Kansas Trail News: April 8, 2013

Kansas Trail News for April 8, 2013 from Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy:

A Kansas Rail-Trail First: County To Manage New Southwind Rail Trail

Jane Tweedy with the Southwind Rail Trail group building the 6.5-mile Southwind Rail Trail between Iola and Humboldt reports that the Allen County Commission voted unanimously to partner with the group to manage and maintain the Southwind Rail Trail. This is the first time a county in Kansas has agreed to help maintain and manage a rail-trail. The County will also help build the trail. The rail-trail was railbanked by Sunflower Rail-Trail Conservancy in 2011. It is hoped that the trail will be completed by this summer and celebration will be held on National Trails Day (June 1) at Humboldt.

Armadillo Encountered On Trail Near Rantoul

Trail users recently encountered an armadillo on the Flint Hills Nature Trail near Rantoul. The critters are being sighted more often in Kansas as temperatures increase and winters are milder. It should be noted that it is best to leave them alone because they carry diseases which can be transmitted to humans.

Bike Lane For KU’s Jayhawk Blvd

Over the next four summers, KU is going to redesign and rebuild its famous Jayhawk Blvd. Parking will be removed and shade trees will be restored as they were 40 years ago. As part of the remake, a bike lane will be put in the middle of the street. This is because a bike lane along the curbs would result in bikes having to pass buses stopped. The whole project is $11 million provided by Kansas taxpayers.

Landon Trail At Overbrook

Karl Umscheid, Overbrook Division Superintendent with Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy, reports that the two-mile section of the Landon Nature Trail going south from Overbrook should be completed this spring. He and his crew are just about done with grading the former railroad bed. Next, crushed limestone screenings suitable for walkers, bicyclists and wheelchair users and a large, wooden trailhead sign will be installed. The trail will pass near the Overbrook Cemetery where Santa Fe Trail ruts or swales may still be seen. “We hope the Overbrook community will now rally behind the project,” offered Umscheid. With their help we can build the recreational trail to Pomona Lake and on to the 117-mile Flint Hills Nature Trail.”

National Trails Day June 1

There will be several National Trails Day celebrations on rail-trails on June 1. One celebration will be held at 9:00 am in Overbrook at the new Landon Nature Trail trailhead. The public is invited to bike or hike on the new two-mile section in celebration of its opening. Details of other celebrations will posted in the May issue of Kansas Trails News.

Article About FHNT In Kansas Outdoors Magazine

The new Kansas Outdoors magazine (2013) published by KDWPT has an excellent article about the Flint Hills Nature Trail. The article, written by Kimberly Winter Stern, quotes former president Doug Walker is quoted extensively. Below are some quotations:

“It’s a picturesque and serene journey for hikers, runners, bicyclists and horseback riders, smack in the middle of the fabled prairie deemed one of Kansas’ many assets.”

“The Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy’s mission is to have the FHNT connect population centers and historic Kansas sites and landscapes. ‘This truly is a natural for Kansas,” says Walker. ‘There aren’t many places in the country with all of the pieces necessary for a true rail-trail experience.”

“Imagine the Flint Hills Nature Trail as a patchwork quilt that stitches together diverse scenery, including sweeping vistas of unbroken countryside, abundant indigenous fauna and flora, lush farmland, rushing creeks and burbling streams and canopies of ancient oak, sycamore and hickory trees.”

“The trail is still under development; sections are completed incrementally as the KRTC receives donations and volunteer assistance. Walker assures an uncluttered, almost spiritual, experience on the 60-plus miles currently open for us.”

“It’s indescribable to participate in the Flint Hills this way,” says Walker. “People who walk or bike the trail or explore it on horseback are blown away.”

Path Lawrence – Partners In Active Transportation And Health

A new organization has formed in Lawrence to promote an interconnected trails system. Currently Lawrence has several separate recreational paths that don’t connect. A co-founder, architect Mike Myers, reports that he would like to see a dedicated funding source so that every year another trail segment is built. A new website is up but is a work-in-progress: pathlawrence.org.

Little Free Library Along Boise Bike Path

Last summer, Jordan Liebich, 11, transformed an abandoned newspaper rack into a Little Free Library and parked it outside Riverstone International School in Boise, Idaho. Jordan painted the box bright blue and stenciled the school’s otter mascot on the side. The sixth-grader says the Little Free Library, situated on a popular bike path, makes it “free and easy” for kids to grab a book, especially in the summertime. “Reading opens up more of the world and opportunities,” says the book-a-day reader. “It makes you think more imaginatively. It makes you smarter. It makes you take in situations differently.”

Right Of Public Access In Sweden

“The Right of Public Access is an ancient Swedish custom (common law) that allows everyone to roam freely in the countryside, even on private property, as long as you behave responsibly and remain out of view and earshot of residential buildings.” (Sweden 2013, www.visitsweden.com).

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled that people of Kansas don’t even have the right to float on the state’s rivers and streams even though the water is owned by the public. This is contrary to Missouri where one can float on all of the streams and even camp or picnic on gravel or sandbars.

Transmission Line May Threaten Rail-Trails

A trails advocate sent the following: I wanted to alert you about a transmission wire project that will impact all five of Kansas’ National Historic Trails (Santa Fe, Oregon, California, Pony Express, and Lewis & Clark) plus unknown recreational trails. My organization is especially watching this project because of possible impacts at Alcove Spring between Blue Rapids & Marysville. Here are the relevant links: salina.com, grainbeltexpresscleanline.com.

Kansas Trail NewsKansas Trail News is published by Clark H. Coan, Public Information Specialist for Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy, Inc. and Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy, 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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