Location: Kansas

Kansas Trail News: September 20, 2013

Kansas Trail News for September 20, 2013, via Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy:

Kanza Awarded $900,000 Nat’l Recreational Trails Program Grant

USA TODAY reports that “The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism has awarded $2 million for development of 16 recreational trails projects. The largest award was for $900,000 to the Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy for use on the Flint Hills Nature Trail. In addition, the Kaw Nation was awarded $350,000 for the Allegawho Project, and $31,000 was awarded for a B-29 bomber museum trail in Pratt.”

The funds will be used to match the $1.5 million federal Transportation Enhancement grant KDWPT received to build the rail-trail. The Kansas National Guard will use the $2.4 million to complete the 117-mile trail. The Kaw Nation received $350,000 to build trails on the Allegawho Park southeast of Council Grove. The Flint Hills Nature Trail will provide access to the park and its trails.

Kansas Built Environment Summit Sept. 25-26

7th Annual Conference
September 25-26, 2013
Ramada Downtown Hotel & Convention Center, Topeka, Kansas

Keynote presentations include researchers Paul and Ruth Ann Atchley from the University of Kansas, sharing their innovative work on how “hiking makes you smarter,” and international journalist Jay Walljasper, who will inspire with lessons from around the world on “25 ways to improve your community.” Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy will have a booth at which volunteers will hand out brochures and maps.

Learn more about the Kansas Built Environment and Outdoors Summit.

Rail-Trail Proposed For Southeast Kansas

Steve and Cathy Bolek, co-owners of a Route 66 gift shop in Baxter Springs, have proposed building a ten-mile rail-trail linking Baxter Springs, Riverton and Galena using abandoned rail right-of-ways. Funding would come from grants and donations. The trail could be called the “Historic Route 66 Trail” since it follows that route. Source: SEK Voice.com August 13, 2013.

Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy Annual Meeting

Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy will be holding its 14th Annual Meeting on October 5 in beautiful downtown Cottonwood Falls in the heart of the Flint Hills. The meeting will begin at 11:00 am in the Grand Central Hotel. Carol O’Neal has been nominated to be re-elected to the Board for a three-year term. Elizabeth Stewart with the Sunflower Foundation will provide information on the $55,000 trail grants the foundation now makes. Also, to be discussed will be a rails-to-trails guide for Kansas volunteers. All trails enthusiasts are invited to attend.

Little-Used Rail Lines Could Become Rail-Trails

By using the last Kansas Rail Plan (2005-6) and obtaining updated information from KDOT, Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy has identified several rail lines that have little rail traffic:

  • Garden Plain-Kingman (24.6 miles) which is out of service;
  • Garden City-Scott City (34.4 miles) which is technically active, but operationally out of service;
  • Jetmore-Larned (46.2 miles) which has fewer than one train a week;
  • Kingman-Pratt (35.5 miles) which has one train a week;
  • Winfield-Oxford (9.1 mi.) which has fewer than one train a week;
  • Wellington-Honnewell (18.2 miles) which has one train a week.

Climate science models are now forecasting severe and prolonged droughts in Western Kansas, thereby reducing crop yields and shipping on rail lines. Thus, some of these lines could be abandoned and become candidates for railbanking. SRTC does not advocate the abandonment of rail lines because rail is more energy efficient than shipping by truck, but if a rail line goes out of service, the Conservancy will work to conserve it through railbanking/interim trail use.

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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