Kansas Trails News – 2015

December 28, 2015

Rail-trail from Marysville, Kansas to Lincoln, Nebraska now Open!

The 19.5-mile Chief Standing Bear Trail which links Beatrice, Neb. to the Nebraska state line was completed this fall creating a continuous rail-trail from Marysville to Lincoln. The other trail sections are the 30-mile Homestead Trail stretching between Beatrice and Lincoln and the Blue River Rail Trail which was also completed this fall and runs 11.5 miles from Marysville to the Nebraska state line.

Points of interest along the two trails in Nebraska include the Homestead National Monument, the 1906 Burlington Railroad Depot which houses the Gage County Historical Society and Museum, Big Indian Recreation Area, Arbor Park, Big Blue River Bridge and Chautauqua Park.

In Kansas, the Blue River Rail Trail generally follows the Big Blue River. The trail features bluffs and heavy timber plus a covered bridge north of Marysville. It also traverses the heavily wooded Oketa valley. Decrepit stone stairways built into the side of the hill once allowed town residents to access trains. In Marysville, efforts are underway to extend the trail south past a train depot that will be restored to a short rail-trail on the south edge of town.

Flint Hills Nature Trail construction moving forward

Jeff Bender with the Kansas Dept. of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism reported at Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy’s annual meeting that construction on Phase 1B (Ottawa west for 3 miles to Iowa Rd.) may start as early as this month, weather permitting. The contract was awarded to APAC-Kansas, Inc. for $1.28 million. Unfortunately, there will be a long-term 3-mile detour on gravel roads for this section due to a busy railroad crossing. Bids for Phase 1C may be let also be let this month. This phase is from Pomona to Quenemo for 4 miles and 6 miles from Ottawa east to Kingman Rd. Construction on Phase 1C may start in spring,
Coffeehouse with Bike Rentals to open in Ottawa

John and Carol Gladman of Ottawa are planning to open a coffeehouse near the intersection of the Flint Hills and Prairie Spirit Trails in downtown Ottawa. The coffeehouse may even have bike rentals. A cafe with coffee in St. Charles, MO along the Katy Trail has bike rentals. A bed and breakfast is scheduled to open next year nearby. Things are starting to happen in Ottawa.
Sheriff deputies patrolling trails

The Franklin County Sheriff has announced that deputies are patrolling both the Flint Hills Nature Trail and Prairie Spirit Trail within the county. The County has recently purchased three bicycles for use by deputies. Safety patrols will be able to help trail users experiencing problems and enforce rules such as the ban on motorized vehicles and shooting. Plus, they will help deter vandalism. Shawnee County sheriff deputies are patrolling the Landon Nature Trail using ATVs.

Climate Change to affect rail-trails

The Kansas City Star (11/18/15) recently had an article describing the climate change predictions by climate scientists for the Kansas City area. These predictions could also apply to rail-trails in eastern Kansas. Shorter and warmer winters may extend the temperate weather in fall and spring encouraging more trail use. However, the more frequent and longer heat waves in summer could reduce summer trail use. Extreme weather events including rain downbursts causing flooding and windstorms may damage trail surfaces. Not only could flooding wash out trail sections it could damage or destroy bridges. Plus, windstorms could result in downed trees and branches which would block trails. Although the tick season will be extended by weeks, rail-trail users tend to avoid ticks because rail-trails are so wide that users don’t brush up against bushes.

Bikepacking is growing sport

Bikepacking is loosely defined as “seeking adventure through multi-day, self-supported trips on lightly loaded bikes.”

Bikepacking 101 on the bikepacking.com website defines it as ”Simply put, bikepacking is the synthesis of mountain biking and minimalist camping; it evokes the freedom of multi-day backcountry hiking, with the range and thrill of riding a mountain bike. It’s about forging places less traveled, both near and afar, via singletrack trails, gravel, and abandoned dirt roads, carrying only essential gear. Ride, eat, sleep, repeat, enjoy!”

“The most significant gear innovation that has helped popularize bikepacking is the commercial availability of bike-specific soft bags. Replacing traditional racks and panniers, these consist of a framebag, a handlebar bag or harness, a seat pack and peripheral bags. Light, rattle free and tailored to modern mountain bikes, they’ll optimize your bike’s carrying capacity without adding significantly to its weight, or effecting the way it handles. Most are made by small-scale cottage industries; some are custom made on a piece by piece basis, and others are available predesigned to fit certain frame brands and sizes. Consider investing in a seat pack and roll bag first, then a framebag when you’ve settled on a bike you’re happy with. Alternatively, look at our Hobo Kit for ideas on how to get by with what you already have. Or if you have access to a sewing machine, make your own!”

KC’s Rock Island Trail to feature tunnel

The planned 17.7-mile Rock Island Trail stretching from the Truman Sports Complex in Northeast Kansas City to Missouri 291 in Lee’s Summit will feature the Vale 446-foot tunnel. The trail will connect the KC metro area with the famous Katy Trail. Construction may begin in 2016 if legal and design hurdles are resolved. (KC Star 11/27/15).

Greater Yellowstone Trail

According to the Rails-to-Trails Magazine (Winter 2016), planning for the Greater Yellowstone Trail is underway:
“The Greater Yellowstone Trail is a proposed 180-mile, non-motorized, multi-use trail system that will pass through three states, a handful of wildlife refuges and state parks, and endless tracts of US Forest Service land. Today, more than 100 miles of the route are passable.” Sections that are already open include the 7-mile Victor to Driggs Rail-Trail; 30-mile Ashton-Tetonia Trail; and the 20-mile Jackson-Jenny Lake Trail.

New Transportation Bill to increase funding for trails initially

The new federal transportation bill called FAST Act has been signed into law and increases funding for trails: The Transportation Alternatives Program — the small pool of funding for walking and biking — was the only program that was capped with no builtin adjustment for inflation. It will rise from the current $817 million annual allocation to $850 million and then be held constant. This is good news as there was a concerted effort to eliminate this program. TA funds are being used to complete the Flint Hills Nature Trail in Kansas. The transportation bill also funds the Recreational Trails Program (RTP). Since 1994, more than $20 million in RTP funds have helped build trails in Kansas. Applicants are required to provide a 20% match.

Half Gates for Flint Hills Trail Project a Success

Half gates are being used on the KDWPT’s Flint Hills Nature Trail Project. The gates make it look like illegal vehicles and ATVs can’t or shouldn’t go on the trail. However, maintenance vehicles are able to go around the gates. According to engineer Dan Holloway, the cost for the gates “vary based on quantity ordered, manufacturer, etc. but the price has been approximately $1,600 to $2,000 which includes all materials and labor to construct, deliver to site, and install. Signs are also mounted on these gates. (see attached picture.) The break-away pin/bolt prevents damage to the gate when vehicles ram it.

Land and Water Conservation Fund increased

Congress has passed a three-year allocation of $450 million annually for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. “The money is intended to create and protect national parks, areas around rivers and lakes, national forests, and national wildlife refuges from development, and to provide matching grants for state and local parks and recreation projects.” In FY 2015 $300 million was appropriated so the trust fund, so this is a 50% increase. However, full funding would be $900 million per annum which is what is contributed to the fund annually by revenues from oil and gas leases on the Outer Continental Shelf. The LWCF State Assistance Program in Kansas is expected to receive around $4 million annually which is administered by KDWPT.

More than 600 projects amounting to more than $51 million in LWCF grant funds since 1965 have helped build outdoor recreation projects including parks and trails.

Scenic Overlook to be built on Kansas Turnpike in Flint Hills

A scenic overlook is being built along the Kansas Turnpike in the Flint Hills. It will allow the public to enjoy a scenic view of the Flint Hills. A herd of antelope is in this area. A groundbreaking for a scenic outlook and improvements at the Bazaar Cattle Pens was held earlier in December. The Bazaar Cattle Pens are located 16 miles southwest of Emporia and 60 miles northeast of Wichita at mile marker 111.



October 18, 2015

Katy Trail to be Completed to KC!

Kansas City will be connected to famous Katy Trail within just two years. The 48-mile Rock Island State Trail and a new 17.7-mile rails-WITH-trails path will allow KC residents to travel from the Truman Sports Complex in Northeast Kansas City to the Katy Trail at Windsor. The Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources is overseeing the construction of the Rock Island State Trail rail-trail. The extension will make the Katy Trail about 290 miles in length, stretching from Machens, MO (North of St. Louis) to Northeast Kansas City.

Significantly, Jackson County (Missouri) and the KC Area Transit Authority are wrapping up the purchase of a 17.7-mile rail line stretching from Lees Summit to the Truman Sports Complex. A rails-WITH-trails path will be built within the right-of-way as the rail line may be used for commuter rail service. Construction on the trail can begin in just seven months as $10 million in federal funds have already been allocated. Also, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has announced that he would like to see the 117-mile Flint Hills Nature Trail (which terminates at Osawatomie) be connected with the Katy Trail. It is unclear how this would be accomplished but it could be a combination rails-WITH-trails path (32 miles in a Union Pacific corridor) with a path within a roadway (20 miles on M-58). So, some day trail users may be able to travel 390 miles all the way from Herington, KS to St. Louis!

Sunflower, Kanza to hold Annual Meetings in November

Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy will be holding its annual meeting in Iola on November 7. The meeting will start at 11:00 am at El Charro, a Mexican restaurant. David Toland with Thrive Allen County will be the keynote speaker, and will discuss Allen County’s growing network of trails, including the Lehigh Portland Trails, the Mo-Pac Trail, the Prairie Spirit Trail, and the Southwind Rail Trail.

Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy will hold its annual meeting on November 14 in Ottawa at Smoked Creations. Jeff Bender with KDWPT will be the keynote speaker. Registration begins at 10:30 am. Lunch is $11.00 and RSVP by emailing info@kanzatrails.org. All trails enthusiasts are invited to attend these meetings. Field trips to area rail-trails will be held after the meetings.

Franklin County Deputies to Patrol Trails on Bikes

The Franklin County Sheriff has announced that deputies will be patrolling both the Flint Hills Nature Trail and Prairie Spirit Trail within the county. The County has recently purchased three bicycles for use by deputies. Safety patrols will be able to help trail users experiencing problems and enforce rules such as the ban on motorized vehicles and shooting. Plus, they will help deter vandalism.

Lawrence to Create 22-mile trail Loop

The City of Lawrence will soon have about 75% of a 22-mile trail loop completed by next July. The trail primarily goes on the outskirts of the city. More than one-half of the loop is composed of a separate multiuse path along the South Lawrence Trafficway. Other components include the Burroughs Creek Trail, Haskell Rail-Trail, a new trail along the Kansas River called the Burcham Park Trail, Outside for a Better Inside Trail and the Baldwin Creek Trail. This trail loop will likely be completed within five more years and is a milestone in urban trail systems in Kansas.

Burcham Park Trail in Lawrence to be completed by December

The Burcham Park Trail in Lawrence will be completed by December 1 according to Mark Hecker with Lawrence Parks and Recreation. The 2/3-mile trail will now be constructed with concrete. Originally, parks and recreation officials thought that asphalt millings would be sufficient for most of the path, but they later decided that due to frequent flooding, it would be better to have a concrete surface.

The path, which will link up with the new Outside for a Better Inside Trail with one trailhead at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, will run to downtown. The Sunflower Foundation provided a $49,775 matching grant (20%) and the City allocated $136,825 from a sales tax reserve fund.

Although this trail is just five blocks from downtown Lawrence, it is worlds away in terms of leaving the hustle and bustle of the city behind for a lush forest along the Kaw River.


June 1, 2015

Andover-Augusta Rail-Trail Initiative receives Sunflower Foundation Match

The Andover-Augusta Rail-Trail Initiative received a dollar-for-dollar match of $41,000 from the Sunflower Foundation to “build a 6.5-mile-long, eight-foot-wide crushed limestone trail on an unused railway, which will link Andover to Augusta”. The trail is also known as the Redbud Trail. According to David Levy, project manager, the trail will go from Meadowlark Rd. (just west of Andover Rd.) west six miles to the Whitewater River. Brush should be cleared by the end of summer (AmeriCorps volunteers are working on this) when screenings will be laid down. The cities of Augusta and Andover will still have to complete their sections. It is hoped that once this section is complete that KDOT will build a bridge over US 400 and the Whitewater River.
KDOT Eliminates Bike-Pedestrian Coordinator Position

KDOT has eliminated the Bike-Pedestrian Coordinator position.

Unfortunately, this will cause considerable harm to efforts to promote bicycling and walking in Kansas. In the late 1990s KDWPT under Gov. Graves eliminated the State Trails Coordinator position. This action substantially slowed efforts to build trails in Kansas.
Naismith Trail Extension in Lawrence now under construction

Construction began in March on the Naismith Trail Extension in Lawrence.

The extension will lengthen the Naismith Trail south from 29th Street to 31stStreet. The current trail follows a wooded creek from 24th Street to 29th Street. The new trail segment will also be 10’ wide concrete and is being paid for by Lowe’s. The company is building a new store on 31st Street just east of Home Depot. City planners requested that they build the extension because otherwise the new store would block access to 31st Street by trail users. The City also recently opened up the existing trail by cutting small trees and planting grass in their place. Although this makes the trail less natural it will give trail users more of a sense of safety.

Haskell Rail-Trail Construction Underway

Contractors in mid-May took only three days to lay down the concrete for the 0.8-mile Haskell Rail-Trail in Southeast Lawrence. They used a special machine that doesn’t require forms. The treadway is now 10-foot-wide concrete and connects with the Burroughs Creek Trail at 23rd St. The project is funded by a $190,000 federal Transportation Enhancements (Alternatives) grant administered by KDOT. The trail, originally with a crushed limestone surface, was the first official rail-trail in the Sunflower State.

Fredonia to Build Rail-trail

The City of Fredonia is planning the build the first section of the 20-mile Western Sky Trail which stretches between Fredonia and Chanute. The trail section stretches six blocks from Polk Street to US 400. It is possible that once it is completed and use is high, demand will grow to continue building the trail east to Chanute.

Baldwin-Ottawa Rails WITH Trails project

According to Peach Madl,discussions are underway to build a multi-use recreational trail within the 11-mile Baldwin-Ottawa Midland Railway Line 100′ right-of-way. So, this would be a Rails WITH Trails project. Excursion trains use the line on weekends during warm-weather months. The trail would connect with both the Flint Hills Nature Trail and Prairie Spirit Trail in Ottawa. Elkhart’s Whistle Stop Trail is a rails-with-trails trail.

Orchestra on the Oregon Trail

The Topeka Symphony Orchestra will be holding the first-ever “Orchestra on the Oregon Trail” in Alcove Springs Park south of Marysville this September. Travelers on the trail camped at this spot waiting to cross the Big Blue River. The infamous Donner Party was stalled there waiting for the flooded river to go down and that’s why they were late going through the Sierra Nevada Mts. and got caught in a snow storm. See: https://ooot.org/

Paradigm Shift in the Sunflower State

Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy had a booth at the Kansas Sampler in Wamego the weekend of May 2-3. Literally, hundreds of festival-goers stopped at the booth and a high percentage had heard of rail-trails and many had used rail-trails. This indicates that a paradigm shift in Kansas has occurred. Ten years ago not many had heard of rail-trails, few had recreated on a rail-trail and many were opposed to rail-trails. The tide has turned!

Flint Hills Nature Trail Update

The engineers for the Flint Hills Nature Trail Project report the following:

Phase 1B has three parts:

Part I – Quenemo (K-68) to Pomona
Part II – Iowa Rd to Ottawa
Part III – Ottawa to Rantoul

Alternates will be determined for final plans based on funding (transportation enhancement funds that expire) and overall costs. Decisions on alternates and bid prices will determine final construction limits. The start of construction for Phase 1B is planned for the Fall: September – October.

The construction of Phase 1A (Pomona – Iowa Rd West of Ottawa) is going well with completion scheduled for July…weather permitting. Screenings are being laid down.

Editor’s note: It looks like if there is good weather over the fall and winter,it’s possible that by June of next year (assuming current bidding and funding levels), one will be able to ride all the way from Osawatomie to Vassar, a distance of 43 miles.

Recreational Path through Baker Wetlands

Construction should be finished this year on the new section of the South Lawrence Trafficway Hike and Bike Path which stretches 2.5 miles from Iowa St. to Haskell Ave. The path will be south of the highway well into the Baker Wetlands, a national natural landmark.

A noise barrier will help block traffic noise for trail users on part of route. It will be accessed by a path from Broken Arrow Park along Louisiana St. and possibly from the new 31st Street at Haskell Ave. Plans are to connect the Haskell Rail-Trail to it. It might also be possible to connect it to the path at Mary’s Lake. The trail will connect with the existing path at Iowa St. which goes 9 miles west and north. Efforts are also being made to connect the multi-use path on new 31st Street with the Mary’s Lake path (they are only 100’ apart).

Kanza receives grants for Landon Nature Trail

Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy has received two grants for the Landon Nature Trail Project in Shawnee County. $25,000 was received from the Hansjoerg Wyss, a Swiss billionaire, and $8,000 from the Lattner Family Foundation. The project primarily involves laying down screenings from Tecumseh Road to the Wakarusa River Bridge in the Clinton Wildlife Area.

Mr. Wyss, who lives in Jackson, WY, has conserved thousands of acres of natural lands in the West. He has pledged to give more than half of fortune to preserve the American West.

Norton Trail Proposed

Trail activists in Norton are pursuing developing a trail from Norton to the Keith Sebelius Reservoir which has the famous Prairie Dog Park. The project would utilize an out-of-service spur within the city and a rails-WITH-trails project within the wide Kyle Railroad right-of-way. An easement would have to be acquired from the railroad. Doug Sebelius, the city prosecutor and son of former congressman Keith Sebelius, is pushing this project.


April 1, 2015

Flint Hills Nature Trail Section Construction Underway

Construction on Phase IA of the Flint Hills Nature Trail Project from Pomona town going east six miles actuallystartedFebruary 23which is earlier than originally projected. Here is a news release from Kansas Dept. of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism:TOPEKA -The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) has contracted with APAC-Kansas, Shears Division to complete improvements along the Flint Hills Nature Trail.The first phase of construction (Phase I-A) will extend from Colorado Road to Iowa Terrace in Franklin County with construction activities occurring entirely within the current Flint Hills Nature Trail right-of-way. The $1,194,322 project will include clearing, gravel surfacing, bridge railing, and signing.“Bids for Phase I-B (Ottawa east) will be let later this year.Surveying work is already underway for Phase II which stretches from Quenemo to Council Grove.

KDOT Signing Trans-America Trail in Kansas

According to the Chanute Tribune (3-10-15), “A plan to put a section of the US Bike Route 76 Trans-America Bicycle Trail in Chanute was unanimously approved by the Chanute City Commission on Monday night. This cross-country bicycle route will come into town from the east on a section of South 21st Street, and go out of town on south Santa Fe. Road signs marking the route will be installed by KDOT as part of this plan.”“Commissioner Martha McCoy mentioned how cyclists using this route often stop for food or other needed goods here in Chanute. In approving the plan, Chanute Mayor Greg Woodyard recalled a cyclist he met last summer at Benchwarmers who was going through Chanute as part of a cross-country ride.” It’s possible that the 19-mile Western Sky Trail between Chanute and Fredonia could become part of the bike route after it is developed.

Blue River Rail Trail Now Surfaced from Marysville to Neb.State Line

According to Steve O’Neal of Marysville, as of March 15,the remaining four miles of the Blue River Rail Trail from Marysville to the Nebraska State Line (Marietta, KS to State Line) now has an improved roadbed (limestone screenings). However, these last few miles are currently not open for public use because two bridges are needing to be completed, but the surface is now improved. A second covered bridge will be built at Oketa. This completes the 11.5-mile trail in Kansas! Nebraska is still working to complete the Homestead Trail (which connects with the Blue River Rail Trail) from Beatrice south 23 miles to the Kansas state line. Lynn Lightner with the Nebraska Trails Foundation reports the foundation is entering into contracts with a trucker to haul 16,000 tons of limestone and a contract to deck and rail bridges for $80,000. The intent is to finish the bridges prior to placement of limestone. Once this section is complete, trail users will be able to travel all the way from Marysville to Lincoln, Neb! The next project for Marshall County Connections is to build a connector trail from the south trailhead to the historic depot which is going to be restored. Hopefully by the time this happens the trail extension from the City’s Railbed Rehab to the Depot (1 block) will be complete or coincide.

Prairie Sunset and Redbud Trails to be extended this year

Construction is slated to begin this year to extend the Prairie Sunset Trail four miles west from Hoover Rd. to 167th St. in Wichita and to extend the Redbud Trail from Meadowlark Road, east of Andover, to Augusta’s Whitewater River. The city of Augusta plans to develop the trail from the river into town. The City of Andover is building a three-mile section of the trail. A total of $110,000 in private donations and grants has been pledged for the Prairie Sunset Trail and $90,000 for the Redbud Trail. A team of AmeriCorps volunteers will be preparing the corridors for construction which is slated to begin in late April and continue until mid-July. The Prairie Sunset Trail extension will bring the trail into Wichita and will connect with the Pawnee Prairie Park, which will serve as the main trailhead. The path also passes by the Air Capital Memorial Park which has single-track paths for mountain bikes. Once the Redbud Trail is complete,trail users will be able to ride all the way from Augusta to central Wichita!

Koch-Funded Groups: Cut All Federal Funding for Walking, Biking, Transit

A coalition of 50 groups, several funded by the Koch brothers, sent a letter to Congress earlier this year arguing that the way to fix federal transportation funding is to cut the small portion that goes to walking, biking, and transit. The signatories do not want Congress to even think about raising the gas tax, which has been steadily eaten away by inflation since 1993. The coalition’s membership includes many stalwarts of the Koch network including the powerful Americans for Prosperity. Transportation Alternatives (formerly TE) funding has provided funding for dozens of mostly urban recreational trails in Kansas over the last two decades. But killing this program won’t affect the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund. That can only be solved by raising the gas tax

Kansas River Trail in Lawrence

“A new, improved trail along the Kansas River just west of downtown will be a nice addition for Lawrence residents, as well as visitors to the city.Work is scheduled to begin soon on the trail, which will run along the south bank of the river and connect Constant Park and Burcham Park. The trail, which will be about two-thirds of a mile long, also will connect to a trail that serves the new Sandra Shaw Park, on the former VFW property near Second and Maine streets. Some informal trails exist in the area, but the new trail will be highly improved with a combination of concrete and crushed asphalt surfaces that are appropriate for use by both walkers and bicyclists.” — Editorial, Lawrence Journal-World, 3-31-15



February 1, 2015

Flint Hills Nature Trail Section Construction to begin in April

The lead engineer for the Flint Hills Nature Trail Project, Dan Holloway, P.E. with Cook, Flatt & Strobel Engineers, P.A., is projecting that actual construction on Phase IA of the Flint Hills Nature Trail Project from Pomona going east six miles will start around April 1. Plus, construction should be completed by August! Bids for Phase 1B between Ottawa and Rantoul will be let in late 2015.

“It’s great that another section of the Flint Hills Nature Trail is going to be completed soon. We are excited by this new development. In just a few years the trail will be completed from Osawatomie to Council Grove and eventually all the way to Herington. This is going to be a wonderful asset for the people of Kansas.”
— Scott Allen, President, Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy

Find a trail in the Sunflower State

The Kansas Trails Council is in the process of gathering and posting trail GPS tracks and other information on the new website: getoutdoorskansas.org. A trail locator map (Kansas Trails: A Thousand Mile Adventure) is also available on the website. The Kansas Trails Council builds and maintains single-track recreational trails on public lands around the Sunflower State’s lakes.

Badger Creek Mt. Bike Trail impresses trail users

The four-year-old Badger Creek Mountain Bike Trail at Fall River Lake impresses many users. The trail goes through some rugged terrain with large rock formations giving trail users a wild experience. KansasCyclist.com gives this description:

“The Badger Creek Mountain Bike Trail at Fall River Lake is located on Corps of Engineers property on the northeast side of the reservoir. There are actually two separate trails here, with the south loop consisting of approximately 4.1 miles, and the north loop at about 2.7 miles. Both are designated for hiking and biking, and feature terrain including old-growth Post Oak, Blackjack, Locust and a variety of Savannah vegetation, along with large rock formations that make for a not-too-physical, not-too-technical experience. There are plans to connect the two trails from the south side of Badger Creek with a spur trail to the northern loop for a contiguous trail system that will provide a number of route and distance options. The Badger Creek Mountain Bike Trail is maintained by the Kansas Trails Council and the Kansas Singletrack Society.”

Sunflower to hold winter meeting Feb. 21 in McPherson

Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy will be holding its winter meeting on Saturday Feb. 21 in McPherson at Tres Amigos. The meeting starts at 11:00 am and all trails enthusiasts are invited to attend. Great breakthroughs are expected for rail-trails in 2015.

Fredonia South Mound Trail

The Fredonia South Mound Trail was built last year by local volunteers including the Cultivate Fredonia Healthy Living Action Team using the “Trail in a Box” provided by the Kansas Trails Council. South Mound is a hill in the south part of town that is 1,040’ high. The single-track trail circles the hill through woods and grassland. There is a picnic area on the summit. For more information contact Charlotte Svaty at handcsvaty@embarqmail.com

Fixing concrete recreational paths

As concrete recreational paths age, surfaces can become uneven. For example, two adjoining slabs may have different heights thereby possibly causing pedestrians to trip and fall. Concrete grinding is a method of repairing uneven concrete surfaces. This is an inexpensive way of repairing concrete paths without having replace concrete slabs. The City of Lawrence uses this to repair its concrete paths.

Two historic trails closer to national recognition

Below are excerpts from an article in the Wichita Eagle (1-9-15):

“The possible national designation of two Kansas cattle trails is a step closer to reality.

The Chisholm and Great Western trails have been studied by the federal government since 2009, when Congress directed the secretary of the Interior to evaluate the trails to see whether they would qualify to be named national historic trails.

Any additional designations would bring more visibility, prestige and tourists – and possibly even tax incentives for owners of land where historic events occurred.

The National Park Service announced this month its feasibility study was complete and is ready for public comment, another step in the designation process.”

“In its heyday from the late 1860s through the 1880s, the Chisholm Trail served as a cattle pipeline from Texas ranches to the stockyards and railroad hubs in Abilene, Newton, Wichita and Caldwell.”

“The Western Trail is also known as the Great Western Cattle Trail, Dodge City Trail and the Old Texas Trail. It was used beginning in 1874 to move cattle to eastern markets. Westward settlement soon forced drovers from the Chisholm onto the new Western Trail, which carried cattle well into the 1880s.“