We’re not here to get into politics, but we want to keep Kansas trail lovers updated on the current situation as to how it applies to them. Most of the trails in Kansas are on state, city, or private property, but there are some federally controlled sites.
So while the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism is state-run and the state parks are open for business during the government shutdown, there are a few places in the state that you can’t get to right now.
Cimarron National Grassland
Two major trails pass through the Cimarron National Grassland, a region reclaimed by the government after the disastrous Dust Bowl years: the Turkey Trail and the Companion Trail, so named because it runs parallel to or occasionally on the path of the historic Santa Fe Trail.Both trails will be included in the upcoming book and the region will be one of our top historic trails.
Quivira National Wildlife Refuge
While the birds pay no mind to government shutdowns and are flying through the area on the fall migration, the shorter, family trails in the refuge are not currently open. This region will be included in the book as one of our top wildlife/wildflower trails.
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
A total of 41 miles of hiking trails cross one of the nation’s only remaining stretches of original, native tallgrass prairie. A few of the best of the trails will be mapped out in our book as featured trails, and all additional trails will be mentioned.
You might want to double check on the Tallgrass Prairie. I have a trip there scheduled for next week and the week after. I called Cottonwood Falls and the Nature Conservancy in Topeka, and folks in both places confirmed that the trails at the Tallgrass administered by the Nature Conservancy are open. I’m so glad!
Tallgrass Prairie is controlled by both the Nature Conservancy and the National Park System, so it’s kind of a mix. Trailheads on private land are open, but the facilities are shut and employees (not all, but most I believe) are furloughed.
That’s right. I should have been more specific about the trails being open, but not the visitor center and so on.
Let us know how your trips go!