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Kansas River Water Trail

Kansas River considered as National Water Trail

posted Jan 20, 2012, 2:15 PM by Ramandeep Dulku

By Associated Press

January 19, 2012

Topeka— The federal government has begun the process for designating the Kansas River between Junction City and its junction with the Missouri River near Kansas City as a National Historic Water Trail.

Linda Craghead, assistant secretary of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, said Wednesday that the designation would be an economic boost for communities along the river.

Craghead discussed the possibility at a meeting of the Topeka and Shawnee County Riverfront Authority. She said the U.S. Department of Interior was working with the state to secure the designation.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that state and federal officials said they will protect the rights of landowners along the river.

The country's first historic water trail designation was issued in December 2006.
Link to the Original Website:

Architect wants to create downtown trail under Kansas River bridges

posted Nov 30, 2011, 1:34 PM by Ramandeep Dulku

By Chad Lawhorn Lawrence Journal-World

November 27, 2011

To Mike Myers’ way of thinking, the little spot between the two downtown Kansas River bridges is one of the more interesting locations in Lawrence.

From this spot just north of Sixth and Massachusetts — officially known as Robinson Park — the converging lines of the Kansas River bridges play tricks on your eyes and let you see the slow-moving Kaw in new ways.

Plus, the park has a cannon. That’s always cool.

“I really like finding unique, out-of-the way places, and this is one of them,” Myers said.

Just down the embankment, the spot underneath the Kansas River bridges is unique, too, but not for the type of sights you would put on a visitors brochure. The day Myers walked the area with a City Hall official, they found a person sleeping underneath the bridge.

But Myers, a longtime east Lawrence resident and an architect, is pushing an idea he thinks could bring new life to both locations. Myers has begun lobbying for a new downtown trail that would travel along the west side of Lawrence City Hall, underneath both Kansas River bridges and into Constant Park at Sixth and Tennessee streets. From there, folks could make the short walk across the grassy park and connect with an existing riverside trail that runs through Burcham Park.

A lot of Myers’ excitement, though, is for what could happen in between the two river bridges. Myers is proposing the trail include a new entrance to Robinson Park, which in addition to the cannon includes a pioneer monument telling the story of the founding of the city. Myers envisions a new outlook area could be built for visitors to gaze upon the river.

Plus, Myers is pitching that the trail will have practical purposes. He said the trail would be an easier way for bicyclists and pedestrians to navigate the confluence of intersections near Sixth and Massachusetts streets — well, easier if anyone feels safe traveling beneath the bridges and into territory that has gained a reputation as a hangout for the homeless and transients.

But Myers said a trail could help solve that problem, too. He said the project would give the city a reason to put lighting under the trail and add some fencing that would make it difficult for people to take shelter in the deep crevices of the structure.

“To my sensibilities, it makes sense to bring people and community life to that area to discourage some of the more nefarious activities that happen there,” Myers said.

Facing challenges

Myers has been presenting the plan to various city officials, including the Bicycle Advisory Commission and city engineers. City engineers and planners have stopped short of endorsing the idea, but they’ve said the idea has some appeal.

“It would be really nice if we could figure out a way to make it work,” said Todd Girdler, the city’s senior transportation planner.

But the project would have some significant engineering challenges, said Chuck Soules, the city’s director of public works. Because of the steep terrain near City Hall, a retaining wall would have to be built to accommodate a trail. The proximity to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks, which run behind City Hall, also could be a problem.

“Their goal is not to have pedestrians near their train tracks,” Soules said. “I think there would be some concerns we would have to overcome there.”

Then, there is funding. Neither Myers nor city officials have developed a cost estimate for the project. Both parties said grant funding likely would have to play a significant role in making the project a reality. Soules said there are some grant projects that fund pedestrian and bicycle projects, but he said the city would have to study the project to determine whether it should be a higher priority than other projects, such as filling in gaps in the city’s existing sidewalk system.

‘A real benefit’

Myers, though, said he intends to keep working on building support. He said he would like the trail to be the first phase of a larger project that would create a new trail through east Lawrence, connecting with the existing Burroughs Creek Trail near Hobbs Park.

That project could travel along property east of the former Riverfront Mall and north of the Santa Fe Depot at Seventh and New Jersey streets. The area has a conservation easement on it that dates back to the controversial construction of the mall. The easement strictly prohibits development of the property, including a trail. But Myers said the conservation easement has been a detriment to the property by making it so isolated that problems with homeless encampments have emerged.

“I’ve talked to people who even fought the mall who don’t think that conservation easement has worked out well,” Myers said. “We don’t want it developed, but we don’t want what we have now, which is basically a place to get in trouble.”

Myers, though, said he’s taking a long-term approach to the idea.

“I would love to see the whole thing happen within 10 years,” Myers said. “I don’t know how much the taxpayer is willing to pay or how much grant money there is. But I think it could be a real benefit. You really notice when a city takes advantage of its riverfront, and we haven’t done that very well.”
Link to the Original Website:

Kansas River Water Trail

posted Nov 9, 2011, 11:05 AM by Ramandeep Dulku

Water Trail
Topeka, Kansas
 
Project Description and Need: The Kansas River, one of only three publicly navigable

waterways in Kansas, flows for 170 miles through both urban areas and rural landscapes.

The history of the Kansas River—sometimes locally known as the “Kaw”—includes

significant events in the development and settling of the nation. Lewis and Clark’s Corps

of Discovery camped at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers in 1804 and

noted that the river was “navigable for 80 leagues.” The river valley provided a route for

overland migration to California and Oregon. The United States military used the river

route to establish Fort Riley and as a supply route between other frontier posts, like Fort

Leavenworth. Significant riverside historic sites open for visitors include Fort Riley, The

First Territorial Capital, Historic Lecompton, Topeka, Kaw Point Park in Kansas City,

and the Kansas History Center. The Kansas River historically linked these sites.

The Kansas River is a unique natural resource for Kansas and provides an attractive

regional recreational opportunity. Over two million people live in the various cities

and towns along the river, from the Kansas City metro area west to Junction City. The

designation and development of a “Kansas River Water Trail” is a high priority for the

Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism, and would be the state’s first public water

trail. Historically, the lack of river access sites has limited paddle sports in Kansas and

forced people to travel to other states for these pursuits. Currently there are 17 developed

public access points on the river and another under construction. Last year, Kaw River

State Park opened to the public in Topeka. Even with these developments, there are gaps

in desired access points, including one 37-mile segment, which is significantly more than

the 10 to 15 miles required for day trips.

Potential Action:
 
Designate the Kansas River Water Trail and provide financial and

technical assistance to increase access to the river.

Partners:
NPS, City of Topeka, State of Kansas, local governments, and nonprofit
 
Link to the Original Website:
 

AMERICA’S GREAT OUTDOORS: Salazar Highlights Two Proposed Projects in Kansas to Promote Outdoor Recreation, Conservation

posted Nov 9, 2011, 10:41 AM by Ramandeep Dulku

Projects Will Be Part of 50-State Report

11/01/2011

Contact: Adam Fetcher, (DOI) 202-208-6416

WASHINGTON — Just days before the release of a 50-state report outlining some of the country’s most promising ways to reconnect Americans to the natural world, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today highlighted two projects in the state of Kansas that will be included in the final report — representing what states believe are among the best investments in the nation to support a healthy, active population, conserve wildlife and working lands, and create travel, tourism and outdoor-recreation jobs across the country.

Establishing the Flint Hills area as a new easement-based conservation area and a proposed Kansas River Water Trail are among 100 projects nationwide that will be highlighted in next week’s report — two in every state — as part of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative to establish a 21st century conservation and recreation agenda and reconnect Americans to the outdoors.

The report is a result of 50 meetings with governors and stakeholders held by Salazar and other senior Interior officials to solicit ideas on how to best implement AGO in their states. These projects were identified for their potential to conserve important lands and build recreation opportunities and economic growth for the surrounding communities as part of close engagement with Gov. Sam Brownback and the state of Kansas, as well as private landowners, local- and tribal-elected officials, community organizations and outdoor-recreation and conservation stakeholders. The full 50-state report will be released in the coming weeks.

“Under the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, we are listening to the people of Kansas and communities across America and working with them on locally-based projects that will conserve the beauty and health of our land and water and open up more opportunities for people to enjoy them,” Salazar said. “My staff and I have been asking each governor for the most promising projects to support in their states, and we will do all we can to help move them forward.”

The two projects in Kansas highlighted by Salazar in the forthcoming report are:

Flint Hills Legacy Conservation Area

Only three percent of the native-prairie grasslands that once stretched from Canada to Texas remain today. Establishing a new easement-based conservation area by working with key ranching community partners will protect up to 1.1 million acres of North America’s last landscape-scale tallgrass prairie. The Flint Hills area is also an important part of the conservation and recreation agenda of the State of Kansas. Rolling prairies provide ample hiking, biking, river, and equestrian trails. The state has partnered with a variety of government and private organizations to secure more than 70,000 acres of voluntary conservation easements in addition to 11,000 square miles that wind energy developers have agreed to conserve.

The Flint Hills plan calls for construction of the Flint Hills Discovery Center in Manhattan, an education-focused visitor center for the NPS Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. The plan also calls for campsite and cabin improvements along the Flint Hills’ trails, as well as development of a wetland-management plan to preserve crucial habitats. Kansas recognizes the importance of youth engagement and aims to create educational and interpretive opportunities throughout these facilities.

Kansas River Water Trail

The Kansas River, one of only three publicly navigable waterways in Kansas, flows for 170 miles through both urban areas and rural landscapes. The history of the Kansas River—sometimes locally known as the “Kaw”—includes significant events in the development and settling the nation. Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery camped at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers in 1804 and noted that the river was “navigable for 80 leagues.” The river valley provided a route for overland migration to California and Oregon. The United States military used the river route to establish Fort Riley and as a supply route between other frontier posts, like Fort Leavenworth. Significant riverside historic sites open for visitors include Fort Riley, The First Territorial Capital, Historic Lecompton, Topeka, Kaw Point Park in Kansas City, and the Kansas History Center. The Kansas River historically linked these sites.

The Kansas River is a unique natural resource for Kansas and provides an attractive regional recreational opportunity. Over two million people live in the various cities and towns along the river, from the Kansas City metro area west to Junction City. The designation and development of a “Kansas River Water Trail” is a high priority for the Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism, and would be the state’s first public water trail. Historically, the lack of river access sites has limited paddle sports in Kansas and forced people to travel to other states for these pursuits. Currently, there are 17 developed public access points on the river and another under construction. Last year, Kaw River State Park opened to the public in Topeka. Even with these developments, there are gaps in desired access points, including one 37-mile segment, which is significantly more than the 10–15 miles required for day trips.

The report will also include potential actions by Interior and its bureaus to support the projects identified. In Kansas, for example, the Department could provide financial and technical assistance to increase access to the Kansas River. The Department could also provide technical and financial assistance to the state of Kansas toward construction of the Flint Hills Discovery Center, Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve Visitor Center, and campsite improvements.

The Department of the Interior will work with each of its key bureaus – including the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – to direct available resources and personnel to make these projects a reality.

“The America’s Great Outdoors Initiative turns the conventional wisdom about the federal government’s role in conservation on its head,” Salazar said. “Rather than dictate policies or conservation strategies from Washington, it supports grassroots, locally driven initiatives."
 
Link to the Original Website:
 

The 101 top conservation projects identified by Interior Department

posted Nov 9, 2011, 9:24 AM by Ramandeep Dulku   [ updated Nov 9, 2011, 9:31 AM ]

    By Associated Press, Published: November 3

    HELENA, Mont. — Here are the 101 top conservation projects identified in a new Interior Department report released Thursday as part of the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative:

ALABAMA

Gulf Coast Restoration

Conservation Education for Alabama’s Youth

ALASKA

Denali State Park Trails

Kachemak Bay Water Trail

ARIZONA

Rio Salado

Lake Havasu National Bluewater Trail System

ARKANSAS

Delta Heritage Trail

Arkansas River Trail

CALIFORNIA

San Joaquin River

Los Angeles River Trail & San Gabriel River Trail Improvements

COLORADO

Rocky Mountain Greenway

San Luis Valley Landscape Conservation

CONNECTICUT

Connecticut River

Naugatuck River

DELAWARE

First State National Historical Park

Delaware National Bayshore

DICTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Anacostia Riverwalk Trail

FLORIDA

Shingle Creek Trail

East Central Regional Rail-Trail Project

GEORGIA

Get Outdoors Georgia

Panola Mountain State Park

HAWAII

North Kona — South Kohala Coastline / Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail

Wailua River National Blueway

IDAHO

Boise River Greenbelt

Owyhee Land Exchange

ILLINOIS

Calumet Millennium Reserve

Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge

INDIANA

Wabash River— Healthy Rivers Initiative

Indiana Dunes

IOWA

Loess Hills

Southern Prairie Pothole National Wildlife Refuge

KANSAS

Flint Hills Legacy Conservation Area

Kansas River Water Trail

KENTUCKY

Kentucky River Water Trail

Dawkins Line Rail-Trail

LOUISIANA

Urban Waters Initiative

Restoration of Lake Pontchartrain Basin

MAINE

Penobscot River Restoration Project

Keeping Maine’s Forests

MARYLAND

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park

Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail

MASSACHUSETTS

Blackstone River Valley Greenway

Connecticut River

MICHIGAN

Detroit River

Detroit River Restoration

MINNESOTA

Upper Minnesota River Watershed

Twin Cities Parks: Mississippi National River & Recreation Area

MISSISSIPPI

Mississippi Coastal Heritage Trail

Pascagoula River National Blueway

MISSOURI

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Revitalization

Ozark Trail

MONTANA

Crown of the Continent

Fort Missoula Regional Park

NEBRASKA

Platte River Recovery Implementation Program

Platte River Access

NEVADA

Lorenzi Park Renovation

Colorado River Heritage Greenway Park and Trails

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Northern Forest

Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge

NEW JERSEY

Barnegat Bay, Landscape preservation and recreation

Barnegat Bay, Water access

NEW MEXICO

Price’s Dairy

Aztec Ruins National Monument

NEW YORK

Harlem River/Roberto Clemente State Park

Finger Lakes Trail and Water Access Improvements

NORTH CAROLINA

Waccamaw River National Blueway

Elk Knob_Long Hope Valley

NORTH DAKOTA

Dakota Grasslands

Missouri River Forest Restoration Project

OHIO

Ohio to Erie Trail Connections

Grand Lake St. Marys Watershed Wetland Development

OKLAHOMA

Honey Springs Battlefield Park

Blue River

OREGON

Table Rocks

Willamette Valley Conservation Plan

PENNSYLVANIA

Lower Susquehanna Landscape Initiative

Urban Greening

RHODE ISLAND

Blackstone River Valley Greenway

Blackstone River Valley Project

SOUTH CAROLINA

Longleaf Pine Focal Area

Three Rivers Greenway

SOUTH DAKOTA

Blood Run National Historic Landmark

Dakota Grasslands

TENNESSEE

Paint Rock River Watershed

Tennessee Riverpark’s Chattanooga Riverwalk

TEXAS

Rio Grande Watershed

West Galveston Bay

UTAH

Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

Jordan River Parkway

VERMONT

Winooski River Watershed Project

Connecticut River

VIRGINIA

Fort Monroe National Historical Park

Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail

WASHINGTON

Pacific Northwest Trail - Olympic Discovery Trail Convergence

Lower Columbia Water Trail

WEST VIRGINIA

Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge

New River Gorge National River

WISCONSIN

Lake Michigan Water Trail

Ice Age Trail

WYOMING

Devils Tower Conservation Easement

Grand Teton National Park Multi-Use Pathways Program

Link to the Original Website:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/environment/the-101-top-conservation-projects-identified-by-interior-department/2011/11/03/gIQAFN9liM_story.html

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