|New Hiking, Biking and Equestrian Trails Planned at Kill Creek Park|
With the assistance of local users groups, the Johnson County Park and Recreation District's Planning and Development Staff have proposed plans for more than 12 miles of new unpaved trails at Kill Creek Park.
Final approval of the trail plan was to be considered during the District Board's Feb. 20 regular meeting and implementation was expected to begin this spring.
The plan includes 4.45 miles of hiking trail, 3.12 miles of all-terrain bike trail, and 4.84 miles of equestrian trail. The new trails would have "a natural earth surface" and would be in addition to the approximately 3.67 miles of paved trails which were in place when Kill Creek Park opened in November 2001.
"We knew all along that this piece of property needed trails - it almost demanded them," JCPRD Landscape Architect Cliff Middleton said during a Feb. 7 public meeting on the trail proposal.
That meeting took place at the Shawnee Mission Park Administration Building and followed meetings in December and January between staff and members of the Earth Riders Mountain Bikers, hikers with the Kansas City Outdoor Society, and a number of individual equestrian users.
Following the meetings, those groups went into the park and flagged possible trail routes, which were then refined.
"We wanted to make trails that were logical and easy to follow," Middleton said.
There are three areas in the park where trails will be prohibited or restricted, Middleton told the 15 or so members of the public who were present at the Feb. 7 meeting.
This will include about 178 acres comprising the Timber Ridge Adventure Center from which access to and from the main portion of the park will be limited. There are also two tracts of land south and west of the large lake totaling about 35 acres which have been designated by the state as a "threatened and endangered species mitigation zone" because of the possible presence of some endangered reptile species. The final area is a 23-acre virgin prairie northwest of the current park developments which will have a short hiking trail spur leading to an overlook.
If the Community in a Park concept being promoted by the county comes about in regard to property at the adjacent Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant, the District could receive up 2,700 acres in addition to the existing 870 acres at Kill Creek Park, which could lead to major trail expansions.
Middleton said that unless there is a lot of volunteer involvement, completion of the trails would likely take two to three years.