The Central Kansas Conservancy (CKC) has sought to promote the appreciation of Central Kansas including its unique natural landscape, wildlife, history, and culture since the group's inception. In 1997, the organization acquired possession of the railbanked former Union Pacific Railroad corridor that runs between McPherson and Lindsborg, Kansas. The group named this stretch the Meadowlark Trail. The CKC views the project, and the other trail projects it manages as a way to benefit the community by providing health and wellness opportunities to residents and visitors as these trails offer people of all ages a safe place to walk, jog, bike and horseback ride away from traffic. The trails also benefit the community by providing the opportunity for economic growth in communities along the trails.
Unfortunately, the CKC has encountered opposition over the years from adjacent landowners who have worked hard to prevent the organization from completing this 12-mile stretch. Despite the adversity, the CKC has already garnered enough support regarding grants, donations and volunteers to complete 7 of the 12 miles of the Meadowlark Trail. These finished portions of the trail are heavily utilized by people young and old. These trails are not only an attractive amenity for our residents but also a destination for out of town visitors looking for a safe place to get out an stretch their legs while enjoying all the beauty that Central Kansas has to offer. The group is actively trying to finish the final stage of the project and close the 5-mile gap in between their two finished sections.
A trail work day was planned for August 5, 2017. The board had received anonymous tips that the opponents of the trail were planning a human barrier to deny CKC access to the trail. Simultaneous with the start of the work day, an approximately 60' long raised railroad bridge trestle on the undeveloped trail was burned. An arson investigation is in process. Through this tragedy, the CKC has seen overwhelming support from not only the Community but Nationally. The CKC wants to put this tribulation behind them and hopes to raise funds necessary to not only restore the bridge but also FINALLY connect the two sections of the Meadowlark Trail to establish the continuous corridor between the McPherson and Lindsborg communities. We, the CKC, sincerely appreciate your support regarding dollars and volunteerism and want to invite you to utilize this beautiful natural amenity, if you have not already done so!
- Mary Kay Houghton
- Tabitha Larkin
- Vangie Bender
- Abigail Lehman
- Korey Hensley