Location: Kansas

Kansas Trail News: August 1, 2014

Kansas Trail News for August 1, 2014, via Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy:

KDOT approves federal $1.9 million grant for Flint Hills Nature Trail

Flint Hills Nature TrailThe Kansas Department of Transportation has announced that it has awarded a $1.9 million federal Transportation Alternatives grant to the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism for the continued development of the Flint Hills Nature Trail which stretches 117 miles between Osawatomie and Herington. Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy, the trail manager, has already developed about 60 miles of the scenic rail-trail using donated funds and volunteers. The additional funds will be used for Phase II of the project which stretches between US 75 and Admire.

“This major grant will allow the realization of the dream to complete one of the nation’s premiere trails. We appreciate the outstanding support the trail has received from the Brownback Administration. The governor recognizes it will provide access to the Flint Hills thereby allowing visitors to explore the tallgrass prairie at a leisurely pace.” ~ KRTC President Scott Allen

Phase I, which extends between Ottawa and Quenemo, is in the design phase now with construction starting late summer or early fall. Funds will be used to install a hard-packed, crushed limestone surface suitable for bicycles, wheelchairs and horses plus signage, railing, decking and repair of bridges, culvert repair and other necessary upgrades. The combined grants will essentially be sufficient to complete the trail from Osawatomie to Council Grove, a distance of 90 miles.

Smoky Hill Recreational Trail Grant

Smoky Hill Recreational  TrailKDOT will announce in October if a grant for constructing the eight-mile Smoky Hill Recreational Trail between Lindsborg and Marquette is approved. The funding would come through a scenic byways program as the trail would be adjacent to the K-4 highway which is part of the Prairie Trail Scenic Byway.

The trail would connect with both the 13-mile Meadowlark Trail and three-mile Valkommen Trail in Lindsborg and the two-mile Marquette Pioneer Trail (a rail-trail) and utilize the old K-4 right-of-way which lies south of the existing highway.

The Smoky Hills are one of the most scenic regions in the Sunflower State.

“Completion of the trail will expand the outstanding trail network in this region. Eventually we may be able to extend the path to the trails at scenic Kanopolis State Park.” ~ Fred Peterson, Marquette City Clerk

Iola Rail Trail Construction to Begin in October

Lehigh Portland Rail TrailDavid Toland with Thrive Allen County reports that the 2.5-mile Lehigh Portland Rail Trail being developed in South Iola now has a planning committee and it is working to get the surveying work completed in August.

“A lot of excitement has been generated,” remarked Toland. “All of the funds are in hand including a $100,000 grant from the Kansas Health Foundation’s Healthy Living Initiative, so construction is currently slated for October.”

Most of the route utilizes an abandoned rail spur. It’s heavily wooded and has wonderful views of Elm Creek and Elks Lake. Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy holds the easement to the trail which links with the Southwind Rail Trail.

Equestrians Contribute To Trail Development and Maintenance

EquestrianSherry Jerome and Carol Retzer use two horses and hand pruners to trim brush on the Flint Hills Nature Trail south of Pomona Lake.

Carol provides trail and horse-drawn wagon rides on the trail. See: yourequineadventure.com

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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