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Volunteer Group Progressing in Mountain Bike Trail Renovations
POSTED: 02/08/2005
In just a short time, the EarthRiders Mountain Bike Club of Kansas City has made significant progress in its efforts to renovate and reconstruct the mountain bike trail in Shawnee Mission Park.

Between Nov. 13 and Dec. 29 2004, volunteers with the group put a total of 181 hours into the project. The trail renovation efforts were first announced on Nov. 6 during a joint meeting with Johnson County Park and Recreation District officials. The club announced a four-phase plan to renovate the trails over the next three years.

"I would like to thank JCPRD for the opportunities they have provided us at Shawnee Mission Park and for trusting us to be responsible stewards of the land," said EarthRiders President Sean Cairns. "I would also like to thank the many volunteers who have donated their time this year to help repair the trail system and ensure that we have a place to mountain bike in Johnson County for many years to come."

The group's time of the project to date has included 106 hours of trail construction, 41 hours of reclamation and repairs, and 34 hours of design and layout, Cairns reported.

Because the existing trail, which is located in the northwest corner of the park behind the tennis courts, was not planned or built by the Park District, no one knows for sure how long it has been in existence.

"There was never anything official created - it just kind of became a bike trail and therefore was never designed for sustainability," said JCPRD Planning and Development Manager Bill Maasen.

As a result, much of the trail follows fall lines and is subject to washout and erosion. The group's goal in reconstructing the trail is to make it follow land contours and therefore be more sustainable. When the group started, there where 13 intersections where the trail crosses itself, a confusing and potentially dangerous situation. The group plans to lower this number to only two intersections an two exit points at the trailhead.

The District is providing staff support, raw materials, and some hand tools.

Cairns said the EarthRiders plan to have the entire north shore trail segment rebuilt by Spring and to conduct a May public workday during which they will reroute the existing trailhead near the dam and close the existing eroded trailhead.

Shawnee Mission Park is owned and operated by the Johnson County Park and Recreation District and is located at 7900 Renner Road, in Shawnee and Lenexa. For more information, contact Park Manager Grant Evans at (913) 888-4713.

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