Location: Kansas

Kansas Trail News: August 1, 2013

Kansas Trail News for August 1, 2013, via Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy:

Great Plains Trail To Go Through Western Kansas

A long-distance trail is being built on the Great Plains from Canada’s Grasslands National Park to Guadalupe Mts. National Park in Texas. The trail will traverse grasslands in Montana, the Black Hills of South Dakota, Scotts Bluff National Monument in western Nebraska, Pawnee National Grassland in northeastern Colorado, Comanche National Grassland in southeastern Colorado, Kiowa National Grassland in northern New Mexico and Guadalupe Mountains National Park in west Texas. A portion of the planned hiking trail will go through the rugged and scenic Arikaree Breaks in Northwest Kansas and possibly the Cimarron National Grasslands in Southwest Kansas. It will take decades to build the Great Plains Trail due to the distance and lack of population plus portions of the route are on private lands. Also, due to the low population density, maintenance will also be a challenge. For more information: GreatPlainsTrail.org

Blue River Rail Trail Listed In “Top Ten Rail-Trails For American History”

The national Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has listed the Blue River Rail Trail in its “Top 10 Rail-trails for American History”. Below is the commentary:

Blue River Rail Trail – Kansas

Established as a trading post and ferry terminal in 1851, the city of Marysville in northern Kansas was a remarkable hub of migration and exploration, located on the Oregon Trail, the Mormon Trail, the route of the Pony Express, the St. Joe Road, the Overland Stage, the Military Road, and the Otoe-Missouria Trail. The old Pony Express Station there still stands. British explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton, who stopped there in 1860, once called Marysville “a country-town which thrives by selling whiskey to ruffians of all descriptions.” Don’t let that deter you. In honor of Independence Day, Marysville will throw “An Old Fashioned 4th of July” party, which includes a Walk-Ride-Run along the Blue River Rail Trail. This 8.7-mile (Editor’s note: actually it is 13 miles long) rail-trail meanders along the course of the Big Blue River, the origin of the city’s settlement. Trail map, info: TrailLink.com

Rail Flat Cars For Bridges

Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy recently researched obtaining an 89’ rail flat car to be used for a bridge which was burned west of Pomona on the Flint Hills Nature Trail. It would cost $16,000 delivered which is far cheaper than building a new bridge. The Conservancy will consult with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and the Kansas National Guard about using the flat car as they will be completing the FHNT next year.

Fiber Optics Cable Leases Along Rail-Trails

A Kansas rails-to-trails organization is entering into a fiber optics lease along a rail-trail. Typically such leases are five-feet wide and the one-time payment is 16 cents/square foot. Many rail-trail corridors are not held in fee simple, but are only easements which don’t grant subsurface rights (retained by the adjacent landowners). That is why it is necessary to include language in lease agreements holding the trail manager harmless for any claims by adjacents. Plus, the trail manager should state in the agreement it doesn’t warrant it retains any subsurface rights.

Fewer Young People Driving

“Since 1983 there was a substantial reduction in the percentage of young persons with a driver’s license from 46.2 percent in 1983 to 28.7 percent in 2010.” (Source: “Have Americans Hit Peak Travel?”, Discussion Paper 2012.14, Revised Feb. 2013, International Transport Forum, Robert Puentes, The Brookings Institution). Reasons for this decline are many, including younger people living closer to work and school, higher unemployment among younger people and the high cost of driving. So, many younger people are walking or biking or using public transit to get to school or work whether by choice or necessity.

300-Mile Ohio To Erie Trail Nearing Completion

“The Ohio to Erie Trail travels 300 miles from the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati to the rolling hills of rural Amish country and on to the sandy shores of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland. When the trail is finally complete—more than 70 percent of it is open for use—it will be the longest paved off-road trail in the country.” Excerpted from Rails to Trails Magazine, Fall 2013.

The trail will connect the 110-mile Ohio and Erie Canalway Towpath Trail with the 78-mile Little Miami Scenic Trail. The trail is expected to be completed within 10-15 years.

EveryBody Walk Initiative

”EveryBody Walk! Is a campaign aimed at getting Americans up and moving. Through the help of our partners, we are working to spread the message that walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week really can improve your overall health and prevent disease.” Join the Walking Revolution. For more information: EveryBodyWalk.org

State Rail-Trails Plan Completed

The new State Rail-Trails Plan is now complete and available online at SunflowerTrails.org. It is a collaborative effort by Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks and Tourism, KDOT’s Office of Freight and Rail, Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy and Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy. Mary Hanson, Outdoor Recreation Planner for the Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program of the National Park Service regional office in Omaha, actually shepherded the planning process and wrote the plan. The plan will guide efforts to build an interconnected trail system in the Sunflower State.

Kansas And Missouri Now Connected By Trails

Kansas and Missouri are now linked by recreational paths: the Indian Creek Streamway Trail in Johnson County, Kansas and Blue River Trail in Kansas City, Missouri are now connected. This is a major milestone as the two trails form a vital link in connecting the Flint Hills Nature Trail with the Katy Trail. Below is an excerpt from the KC Star (7-27-13):

Happier trails along Indian Creek

Many amateur athletes love the Kansas City area’s growing trail system. Cyclists and others get frustrated when trails close, and they eagerly await new connections. Kansas City has linked the Indian Creek Trail with the Blue River Trail in the southeast part of town. Travelers reaching the state line from Kansas can go east from the Watts Mill area, swing close to the Bannister Federal Complex and then head east-southeast through very pretty terrain to Blue River Road. Most of the trail is paved, and shelters under railroad overpasses protect trail users from flying debris.

Proposed Rock Chalk Park Trails

Lawrence City Commissioner Bob Schumm is proposing that 10 km of 10-foot-wide concrete trails be built in the new Rock Chalk Park in northwest Lawrence. The trails could be used for community runs and rides. The total cost would be about $2 million, but 80% of funds could possibly come from federal Transportation Alternatives monies if Congress continues funding the TA program.

Private Firm Restores, Conserves Natural Lands

“The Nature Conservancy will hold the easement for the Montana property, which is currently owned by Beartooth Capital, a private firm that buys and restores land in need of conservation before reselling it.” Nature Conservancy magazine July/August 2013. This is an innovative concept for preserving natural lands. See beartoothcap.com.

Built Environment And The Outdoors Summit

The 7th Built Environment and the Outdoors Summit will be held Sept. 25-26 in Topeka. There will be sessions on trails and all trails groups can have a free booth. For more information: KansasBEOS.org

Sunflower Foundation Announces RFP For Trails Grants

The Sunflower Foundation: Health Care for Kansans announces a new Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for the Sunflower Trails program, as well as a change in the submission process that should enhance the experience for all applicants. The trail funding initiative is designed to support the concept of the “built environment” as a strategy to increase opportunities for outdoor physical activity and therefore reduce the prevalence of obesity. The foundation invites Kansas communities and schools to submit proposals for the development or improvement of trails.

Learn more about the grants at SunflowerFoundation.org

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]

One response to “Kansas Trail News: August 1, 2013”

  1. Guy says:

    About the Ohio to Erie trail: the trail is currently passable with only maybe 15% on roads. We have ridden the entire length four times in th past two seasons.
    Here is a link to our new trail guide for the entire route.