Kansas Trail News for March 11, 2014, via Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy:
Supreme Court Ruling Doesn’t Affect Kansas Rail-Trails
According to rails-to-trails legal experts yesterday’s US Supreme Court ruling only affects federally-granted rail corridors. Most of these federally-granted rail corridors lie within federal lands such as national forests. All of the rail-trails in Kansas were railbanked/conserved under the regular railbanking process of the National Trails Act which was upheld by the US Supreme Court in 1990. No existing Kansas rail-trail will be affected by this ruling.
Design Concept For Flint Hills Nature Trail
Designers for the Flint Hills Nature Trail project being undertaken by the Kansas Dept. of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism have developed a concept for the Flint Hills Trail that involves building a steel outline of a Conestoga wagon on the Neosho River Bridge in Council Grove. The Santa Fe Trail is near the bridge. The steel outline could be illuminated by blue LED bulbs at night. The High Trestle Trail near Des Moines has a trestle bridge which has similar artwork. See description:
Once a Union Pacific Railroad crossing of the Des Moines River, the bridge is now a unique element of the High Trestle Trail. At 130-feet tall, it is one of the tallest trail bridges in the nation. The structure also features artistic elements inspired by the area’s coal-mining history. With its 22 structural columns, sculptural forms, and patterns, this bridge is an art form in itself.
The monumental columns are illuminated from the bridge deck, creating a stunning visual. The geometry of the steel “cribbing,” reminiscent of a mine tunnel, changes around the viewer. The integration of artwork along the High Trestle Trail reflects the geological history of this area, with the design elements providing visual connection to the passage.
Note: Private funds were used to build this artwork and it expected that private funds would also be used for the bridge artwork in Council Grove as well.
Flint Hills Nature Trail Design Workshop April 21 in Osage City
The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and the Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy have scheduled another meeting to allow citizens to offer input and ideas on the development of the Flint Hills Nature Trails. The meeting in Osage City will be 5-7:30 p.m. April 21, at the Osage City community building, 517 S. First St. It is open to the public and comments are being actively solicited at the design workshop meetings.
Kansas Trails Guide Interview About Rail-Trails
Starlight Tourism Destination
The Starlight Foundation which is associated with UNESCO is designating regions which have Dark Skies and are therefore excellent for stargazing. It’s possible that a portion of the Flint Hills could be designated a “Starlight Tourism Destination.” The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, for example, has virtually no light pollution and very dark skies. Since 80 percent of Americans have never seen the Milky Way, stargazing could become a key attraction in the Flint Hills.
Sunflower Receives $10,000 Grant
The Sunflower Rails-Trails Conservancy received $10,000 this month from Calgary-based Enbridge, Inc. which is building the 600-mile Flanagan South pipeline from Pontiac, Ill. to Cushing, Okla. The pipeline will carry tar sands crude oil and crosses Sunflower’s Western Sky Trail southwest of Chanute. The company is also replacing a pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta to Superior, Wis. using an existing permit. Approximately $1,000 of the grant was actually a payment for the crossing easement, but the balance is a donation. The funds will be partly used to railbank/conserve additional out-of-service rail lines in the Sunflower State.
Overbrook Trail Dedication
A one-mile stretch of the Landon Nature Trail will be dedicated May 10 at 10:00 am at the trailhead on the south end of main street in Overbrook. This will be followed by a walk/ride on the new trail section. The Lattner Family Foundation provided the funds for this project.
Katy Trail Extension Into Kc Moves Forward
KC Star, Feb. 24, 2014
Editorial: Bold move forward on commuter rail, trails
The potential of building commuter rail in Jackson County is much brighter thanks to a new, positive agreement between Jackson County and Union Pacific Railroad.
And the possibility of creating an expanded system of hiking and biking trails has taken a big step forward, too…
…If the land is bought, that would give the county the immediate option to begin building hiking and biking trails along the corridor, which reportedly is quite wide in most places. The trails could link to other systems, including the Trolley Trail in southwest Kansas City and the Little Blue Trace Trail in Independence, and eventually even reach the Katy Trail, which flows across much of Missouri.
An expanded system of trails would be a notable achievement for Jackson County, and it could be done in tandem with the commuter rail project if that gets rolling.
None of this happens, though, without first buying the land. Making that happen should be a top priority for Sanders and other Jackson County officials.
SRTC Has Facebook Page
Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy now has a Facebook page, so please become a friend.
The Razorback Greenway trail stretching over 30 miles between Bella Vista and Fayetteville, Ark. is nearing completion. See: nwarpc.org