Friday, November 28, 2014

Nature trail gets $1.9M grant

By The Herald Staff | 7/18/2014

TOPEKA — The Flint Hills Nature Trail is set to benefit from a hefty federal grant.

The trail, which stretches 117 miles between Osawatomie and Herington, and includes a run through Ottawa — has been awarded a $1.9 million federal Transportation Alternatives grant by the Kansas Department of Transportation.

TOPEKA — The Flint Hills Nature Trail is set to benefit from a hefty federal grant.

The trail, which stretches 117 miles between Osawatomie and Herington, and includes a run through Ottawa — has been awarded a $1.9 million federal Transportation Alternatives grant by the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy, the trail manager, already has 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 U.S. 75 and Admire.

Phase I, which extends between Osawatomie and U.S. 75, is in the design phase now and is expected to be constructed next year. Funds are to 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 essentially will be enough to complete the trail from Osawatomie to Council Grove, a distance of 90 miles.

“This major grant will allow the realization of the dream to complete one of the nation’s premiere trails,” Scott Allen, Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy president, said. “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.”

 The 117-mile Flint Hills Nature Trail is the seventh longest rail-trail in America. Once the Flint Hills, 38-mile Landon and 59-mile Prairie Spirit trails are complete, there will be a 204-mile interconnecting network of rail-trails in eastern Kansas, the conservancy group said.

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