|New Gates, Temporary Closing Procedures Meant to Protect Trails Mountain BIke Trails at Shawnee Mission and Heritage Parks|
Maintaining high-quality mountain bike trails at Shawnee Mission and Kill Creek parks is the goal of new temporary trail closure procedures recently announced by Johnson County Park and Recreation District officials. Shawnee Mission Park is located at 7900 Renner Road, Shawnee and Lenexa, and Kill Creek Park is located at 11670 Homestead Lane, Olathe.
When conditions are wet, mountain bikers planning to use the 4.5 miles of trail on the northwest side of Shawnee Mission Park or the 4 miles of trails at Kill Creek Park are encouraged to call the District's existing Park Info line, (913) 312-8833, to learn about possible trail closures. On the ground, closures are enforced by the use of four gates recently installed near the mountain bike trailheads at Shawnee Mission Park. This is consistent with what is already being done at Kill Creek Park with the back country trails, which will use the same information line.
"We've just completed a pretty major trail renovation that utilized countless hours of volunteer labor to renovate and put some logic and design principles for modern trail construction into these trails," explained Park Planner II Jim Wilson. "The way the new trails are designed, when they're dry, they'll shed water. When they're wet, they'll shed water. As soon as somebody puts a big rut down the center of that trail tread, it will no longer shed water and then the trail tread starts to absorb water and gets muddy and sloppy and then more people ride through it until you have a giant mess."
"The idea of the gates is to work within our existing policies to be able to close and secure those trails to prevent that sort of trail damage," Wilson explained.
On one side of the gates it says "Trails Open. Call for trail closings during wet conditions." On the other side, it says "Area closed to prevent trail damage. No trespassing." Both sides also list the park info phone number.
"We want to maintain the trails at their narrow single-track configuration which is somewhere between 18 and 24 inches wide," Wilson said. "When you get puddles forming, people start riding around the puddles and you get a trail that's eight feet wide and that's not desirable for these uses."
A general message giving park hours is on the Park Info line most of the time, but when an inclement weather event occurs, managers of the two parks can implement prerecorded messages which notify callers that either or both of the parks have closed their trails. In the case of Kill Creek Park, this also includes information about equestrian trails as well.
For maps and information on mountain bike trails at Shawnee Mission Park, visit the District's website at http://www.jcprd.com/parks_facilities/map_smp_mountainbiketrail.cfm