ABC Trails Plan Approved

The ABC Trails Plan is a cooperative project between Allen, Bourbon, and Crawford Counties, to develop an active transportation and trails plan for the three counties. This plan is the first of its kind in Kansas.

Each of the three county commissions have now approved a resolution in support of the ABC Trails Plan. On February 12th, commissioners and residents from the three counties will gather in Fort Scott to unveil and celebrate the plan.

The ABC Trails Plan document recommends a variety of short-term and long-term projects, including bicycle routes connecting the counties, information and wayfinding signage, new trails and trail amenities, future bicycle touring and bikepacking routes, and tourism-related activities such as a resource web site, a network of paved and gravel routes, and paper brochures and maps.

The ABC Trails Plan envisions both trails and routes within the ABC counties, as well as connections to the larger regional, state, and national trails and routes network.

It is called the “ABC Plan” not only because it applies to Allen, Bourbon, and Crawford Counties, but because, just as learning their ABC’s is a basic building block of a child’s educational journey, this plan is a basic building block in the journey towards an active population, a robust and diversified economy, and a sustainable culture of health.

The ABC Trails Plan was funded by the Sunflower Foundation, and is a joint project between Thrive Allen County, the Healthy Bourbon County Action Team, and Live Well Crawford County.

The three counties have, in recent years, been some of the most active and engaged in Kansas. Allen County has added nearly 30 miles of new trails over the past decade or so (the Prairie Spirit Trail, the Southwind Rail Trail, the Missouri Pacific Recreational Trail, the Lehigh Portland Trails, etc.), while both Bourbon and Crawford have invested in bicycle and pedestrian master plans, mountain bike trails, rail-trails, and on-street bicycling infrastructure. Both Bourbon and Crawford Counties are part of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas Pathways To A Healthy Kansas Grant Program, while Thrive Allen County provides technical assistance and mentoring to Pathways grantees throughout the state.

It is hoped that the ABC Trails Plan becomes a model for future active transportation and trails planning in Kansas. As individual communities and counties invest in trail and route development, it is important that the bigger picture — how all of these individual trails and routes are interconnected — is taken into consideration.

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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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