Location: Kansas

Kansas Trail News: May 28, 2013

Kansas Trail News for May 28, 2013 from Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy:

Southwind Rail Trail Dedication

There will be an official opening of the new 6.5-mile Southwind Rail Trail (southern extension of Prairie Spirit, from Iola to Humboldt) on Saturday, June 8th, 2:00 p.m. at the north of the Riverside Park at W. Bruner Street (west of State St.) in Iola. June 8th is National Outdoors Day. Billie Hall and her staff from the Sunflower Foundation will be there. With completion of the Southwind Rail Trail, there is now a 59-mile continuous rail-trail from Ottawa to Humboldt.

Learn more: Southwind Rail Trail Grand Opening June 8th in Iola

Andover To Augusta Rail Trail Project

Ruth Holliday with Prairie Travelers, Inc. reports the following:

“We have started a new group working in conjunction with Prairie Travelers but eventually will be its own non-profit by the name of AARTI. This stands for “Andover Augusta Rail Trail Initiative.” We have the blessing of Butler County and Andover and the approval of the Augusta mayor and maybe a few on the council by not 100%. A core group of 8 to 10 of us have been meeting since November and been to several Andover City Council meetings making sure they were behind us and helping with some letters of endorsement for the last of the SAFETEA-LU application for the City of Andover to pave the first mile or so in their City limits.

AARTI held an informational meeting this week to keep trail supporters in touch with our needs, intentions and goals on the Butler County section of the Redbud Trail! We had a good turnout of 29 which included a good array of locals as well as City and County officials. As a gesture of goodwill we are holding our first workday May 4th to help Andover with their in town section with trash pickup and tree trimming.”

“We have a Facebook page and e-mail or with questions this e-mail for prairie travelers is good as well. David Levy, a local Andoverite is spearheading the endeavor. I also live in Andover so am helping with the effort.”

Proposed Trail To Link Flint Hills Trail With Melvern Lake

Bill Patterson of Lyndon reports,

“I sent the governor the attached letter asking him to authorize KDOT to allow building a trail on the old road bed of Highway 75 in Osage County. The trail would be approximately 8 miles in length and connect Melvern Lake to the Flint Hills Trail north of Lyndon. Many years ago 75 Highway was moved to the west and the old roadbed is unused and growing up in grass and weeds. I would encourage your organization to contact the governor as well and ask that this land be allowed to be converted to a trail.

Editor’s note: There are federal funds available to increase access to federal lands.

Historic Trail Sites Nominated For National Register

Two sites along historic trails have been nominated to the National Register of Historic Places.

Alcove Spring-Blue Rapids vicinity, Marshall County. Alcove Spring is one of the best known campsites along the Oregon and California trails, as it is featured prominently in diaries of emigrants as they awaited favorable crossing conditions on the nearby Big Blue River. The Donner-Reed party members, who later found themselves trapped by snowy conditions in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, camped here in May 1846. This amendment seeks to include two areas of intact trail segments to the west and north of the spring. Including the spring and trail segments, the amended boundary incorporates 246 acres.

Scott Spring-Westmoreland vicinity, Pott County. Scott Spring was a reliable water source near the Rock Creek Crossing of the Oregon and California trails. Its location near this crossing made it a suitable campground while west-bound travelers waited for high waters to recede. The nominated site contains the location of the spring itself, as well as an intact trail segment that includes at least three distinct swales.

(Excerpted from Kansas Preservation, Vol. 35, No. 1, 2013).

Tips On Surfacing Rail-Trails

Bill Vanderwall, the project manager for the Prairie Sunset Trail, states:

Don’t blade off the rock ballast, but blade it toward the center to form a crown in the center. Otherwise there will be drainage problems. Then install blonde crushed limestone screenings 1.5 inch size, 3 inches deep. It packs well into the ballast rock. Then put a layer (although not enough due to financial constraints) of gray limestone course screenings, 2 inches, as a top coat. Each layer needs graded and rolled.

Walking & Biking To School Has Stabilized

According to the 2009 National Household Travel Survey (NHTS), a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) effort to collect data on travel by the American public, 13 percent of children five to 14 years old usually walked or biked to school compared with 48 percent of students in 1969. Conversely, 12 percent of children arrived at school by private automobile in 1969, and, by 2009, this number increased to 44 percent. Rates of school bus ridership to school over this same 40-year span showed the least change, increasing from 38 to 40 percent.

While long-term trends demonstrate a decline in walking and bicycling to school, preliminary analysis of 2009 NHTS travel diary data reveals the percent of five through 14-year olds walking and bicycling to school in the U.S. has remained stable at about 12 percent over the last 15 years. This is hopeful news for Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs – sustained efforts by parents, schools, community leaders and local, state, and federal governments to improve the health and well-being of children by enabling and encouraging them to walk and bicycle to school.

(Excerpted from Safe Routes to School Partnership news release, April 8, 2010).

The previous decline can be attributed to the loss of neighborhood schools, increased traffic along streets used to access schools (partly due to poor planning), and a concern about the safety of children. The Walking School Bus program is helping to counter the latter. It involves having parents walk a group of schoolchildren to school.

Redbud Trail Project To Start In July

Construction will start on a two-mile section of the ten-mile Redbud Trail being developed in Wichita. The new segment stretches between Hillside and Oliver Streets. An environmental study is underway for the next phase which is Oliver to Woodlawn. However, this section may not be completed for five years.

Original Buffalo Bill In Kansas

William Mathewson (1830-1916) was the original “Buffalo Bill” in Kansas. He was a noted trapper and trader in central Kansas. In 1853 he established a trading post at the Great Bend on the Arkansas River and later Cow Creek southwest of present-day McPherson near the Santa Fe Trail. His hand dug well is still visible at the Cow Creek site.

Mathewson earned the nickname “Buffalo Bill,” given by the numerous settlers he saved from starvation during the winter of 1860-1861. The drought of 1860 had ruined the crops that the settlers had planted leaving them without a reserve food source for the winter. Hundreds of settlers came to Mathewson from September to March asking the expert hunter to provide them with food. He complied by supplying them with buffalo meat, which he hunted without concern for his own safety or welfare, and for which he refused payment. He killed as many as 80 buffalo in a single day for the settlers.

Through his 26 years as a trader and trapper he also earned the respect and trust of most of the Native Americans he encountered. His Indian name was “Long-Bearded Dangerous Man,” which was given to him by the Kiowa chieftain, Satanta, after the warrior had received a severe beating from the trader at the Cow Creek post in 1861. Mathewson used the trust he had cultivated with the Indians to gather delegations of them in 1865 to negotiate the Little Arkansas Treaty and in 1867 for the Medicine Lodge Council meeting, the latter resulted in Indian lands being consolidated into smaller tracts and opened up Kansas for railroad expansion. (Kansapedia, Kansas Historical Society).

The second Buffalo Bill (William Cody) was riding for the Pony Express during the 1860-61 period and didn’t supply buffalo meat for the Army and Kansas Pacific Railroad until 1868-72.

Abilene Designated One Of Best Small Towns In America

The Smithonian Institution, the world’s largest museum and research complex, has designated Abilene, Kansas as the 17th best small town in America where the “Old Chisholm Trail stopped, home of Eisenhower’s presidential museum” (Smithsonian Magazine, April 2013). The institution looked at towns under 15,000 that have “exceptional concentrations of museums, art galleries, orchestras, theaters, historic sites and other cultural blessings.” Abilene has a Wild West Old Town: Abilene Old Town. Wild Bill Hickok was briefly marshal there and the Museum of Independent Telephony.

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.

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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