Location: Kansas

Kansas Trail News: July 15, 2013

Kansas Trail News for July 15, 2013 from Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy:

$2.4 Million To Be Invested In Flint Hills Trail!

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism has announced it has received a $1.5 million federal Transportation Enhancement grant allocated by the Kansas Dept. of Transportation to continue development of the Flint Hills Nature Trail. Other public funds for recreational trails and private funds will make up the balance in the $2.4 million investment in the trail. Further, the Kansas National Guard will help build the 117-mile trail which may be completed by the end of 2014. This a milestone in the history of rail-trail development in Kansas. The FHNT will form the backbone of an interconnected trail system in the Sunflower State. For more information, go to:

TE Grants To Fund Rail-Trail Projects

KDOT has announced several federal Transportation Enhancement grants for Kansas rail-trail projects. These include:

Andover – construction of a section of the 20-mile Redbud Trail between 13th and 21st and 159th and Patricia Street. The section goes from the Sedgwick-Butler county line east for 1.5 miles.

Iola – construction of shared use path that will provide a community link to the Prairie Spirit Trail. This 1/2 mile path will utilize an abandoned rail right-of-way and provide access to central Iola. [learn more]

Lawrence – extension of the Burroughs Creek Trail between K-10 and 29th Street; The current crushed limestone surface will be paved with concrete making for a 2.5-mile rail-trail.

Wichita – continuation of the Redbud Trail from Oliver Avenue to Woodlawn Avenue.

Kanza Receives $25,000 Grant For Landon Trail

Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy announced June 12 that it has received a $25,000 Recognition grant from the Kansas Health Foundation. The funds will be used to help complete the 38-mile Landon Nature Trail in Shawnee County. A hard-packed, crushed limestone surface will be installed on the seven remaining miles in the county. The Conservancy also received $6,000 from the Lattner Family Foundation for the project. The goal is to complete the trail within Shawnee County by next June.

Central Kansas Conservancy Receives Grant

The Central Kansas Conservancy has received a $12,500 Recognition grant from the Kansas Health Foundation. The grant will be used to help build two miles of the Meadowlark Trail which stretches between McPherson and Lindsborg.

Linking Flint Hills Trail With Katy Trail

A KC Star editorial supports Governor Brownback’s call for linking the Flint Hills Trail with the landmark Katy Trail.

One option is to undertake a Rails-WITH-Trails project to connect the Flint Hills Trail in Osawatomie with the MetroGreentrail network in Johnson County. Plans are to link the MetroGreen trails with the Katy Trail. This would involve building a trail within an active rail corridor. A three-wire fence (without barbs) could be used to separate trail users from railroad tracks.

Southwind Rail Trail Dedication

Over 100 people attended the dedication ceremony for the new Southwind Rail Trail on June 8 in Iola. After brief remarks by six people, there was the ribbon-cutting followed by a bike ride/walk on the trail. The 6.5-mile trail between Iola and Humboldt connects with the Prairie Spirit Trail in Iola. The City of Iola manages 1.5 miles of the trail. The Southwind Rail Trail will be a great community and state asset to be enjoyed by people for years to come and was a collaborative effort by Allen County, Thrive Allen County, Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy and the Southwind Rail Trail Volunteers. It will also serve as a showcase as it is the first time a Kansas county has agreed to help develop and maintain a rail-trail. Now there is a 60-mile continuous rail-trail stretching from Ottawa to Humboldt.

Grants For Trail Development

The Sunflower Foundation, a statewide health foundation, is in the process of adopting a new policy which will direct more funds toward the development of long-distance trails. It is now recognized that the health value of longer recreational trails is greater than shorter trails because trail users are able to travel farther and thus exercise more. Plus, long-distance trails can generate sufficient tourism to help small towns survive.

The Sunflower Trails grants now are currently $30,000. Funding is currently only for construction costs on a reimbursement basis and grants must be matched (50/50). Fortunately, the Kansas Health Foundation of Wichita provides $25,000 Recognition grants which can be used for matching Sunflower grants. For more information, contact Elizabeth Stewart, the new Program Officer at the Sunflower Foundation at 785.232.3000 extension 112, estewart@sunflowerfoundation.org. Also, visit sunflowerfoundation.org for more information about the grant program.

Enel Energy Donates $10,000 To Kanza

Enel Energy, an Italian renewable energy company with a US subsidiary, recent donated $10,000 to Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy to help complete the Flint Hills Nature Trail. The company owns the Caney River Wind Farm in the southern Flint Hills which was developed by TradeWind Energy of Lenexa. The grant by a renewable energy firm makes sense as rail-trails are all about conserving energy and resources and recycling old rail lines.

Interest Building In Completing Landon Trail

Interest is growing in completing the 38-mile Landon Nature Trail because it will connect Topeka with Ottawa and the Flint Hills Nature Trail. Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy has just prepared a new project budget of $1 million to complete the trail which is now nearly completion to the Clinton Wildlife Area. Copies are being furnished to public officials. Here is a description of the trail:

The 38-mile Landon Nature trail is a particularly scenic recreational trail stretching from the popular Shunga Trail in Topeka to the Clinton Wildlife Area, Pomona Lake and on to the 117-mile Flint Hills Nature Trail near Quenemo. The trail will be the only recreational trail in America to link the Oregon National Historic Trail with the Santa Fe National Historic Trail. In the North, this remarkable trail follows picturesque Camp Creek with its clear, rushing water and wooded oak-hickory covered hills which provide a shady tree canopy for trail users. It should also be noted that the nature trail passes by two wetlands teeming with waterfowl, native tallgrass prairie blooming with wildflowers and two lovely waterfalls. In fact, the land surrounding the Swissvale Waterfall lies within the corridor and can be turned into a picnic area.

The trail crosses the Santa Fe Trail north of Overbrook and a side trail could be built to view trail ruts in southeast Overbrook. North of its southern terminus at Lomax, lies the historic 240-feet-long steel truss bridge over 110 Mile Creek. Very few trails in the Midwest offer the variety of scenery and history provided by the Landon Nature Trail. When completed, it will be an exceptional public asset available to everyone in the Sunflower State.

Osawatomie To Railbank Rail Corridor

The City Council of the City of Osawatomie has voted to railbank/conserve a Union Pacific spur to extend the Flint Hills Nature Trail into town. The Osawatomie Sports Complex will now be the eastern trailhead of the FHNT. It is expected that the railbanking will be completed by the end of the year.

Summer Sunflower Meeting In Wamego

The summer meeting of Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy will be held on Saturday August 17 in Wamego. The meeting will begin at 11:00 am at the Imperial Palace and last until 2:00 pm. A field trip to the route of the planned Wam-Sag-Man Trail will follow the meeting. All trails enthusiasts are invited to attend.

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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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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