FHNT Voted Trail Destination of the Year! Award presentation in Council Grove on 7/13 @3

Flint Hills Nature Trail won the vote for Top Kansas Trail Destination of the Year, and we’ll be honoring that vote at a presentation at the Council Grove library on Friday, July 13 at 3pm.

We’ll be presenting a free copy of the book to the library as well as giving a short presentation on the FHNT and trails across Kansas. Books will be available for purchase as well as signing.

If you go:

Council Grove Public Library, 829 W Main St

3pm on July 13

Dinner and book signing at Dillon Nature Center 7/10

In connection with HutchRec and Dillon Nature Center, we’re presenting our book talk along with a signing on July 10 in Taylor Cabin. Before the presentation, there will be a dinner at 6:30 — taco salad, rice & black beans, Mexican chocolate cake.

To register for the event (a head count is needed for the food) – follow this link for online registration or download the registration form here to return to HutchRec.

We look forward to seeing you!

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Vote now for 2018’s Kansas Trail Destination of the Year

It’s that time again, time to vote for your favorite Kansas trail destination.  The inaugural winner of the award was Iola. Whichever location gets the most votes will be honored as our Top Trail Destination of the Year 2018, and we’ll be sending a free copy of our book to the winning town’s public library

We selected our finalists based on their plans to expand trails as well as their commitment to building and maintaining trails in the Sunflower State. Here’s a bit about them.

Bluffs at Lake Scott State Park

Scott City / Little Jerusalem.  In addition to serving as the gateway to the outstanding trail system at Lake Scott State Park, Scott City will be the destination for travelers heading to explore the newly opened Little Jerusalum area.

Later this year, there will be trails open and available at the well-known, but not previously (legally) accessible chalk formations. Having a maintained trail system there is designed to help protect the area and the formations themselves.

Marysville. The Oregon Trail crossed near Marysville and more recently the Blue River Rail Trail (with the beautiful covered bridges) has expanded north to the Nebraska state line through the diligent work of Marshall County Connection.

The next step is working to extend the rail-trail south further into Marysville to increase accessibility.

Wyandotte County. The county has started its 20/20/20 movement — Expanding bike routes, trails, and safe sidewalks, 20 miles of each (if not more) by 2020. They also have a both hiking and equestrian trails already in place at Wyandotte County Lake.

Flint Hills Nature Trail. The Flint Hills Nature Trail has been a work in progress for many years, but the grand vision of the Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy is finally coming close to fruition.  The FHNT has been supported by many towns along the way, but this year we are highlighting Council Grove.  From the old Santa Fe Trail to the current Flint Hills Natural Trail, Council Grove has been the original Kansas trail town since 1825.

Vote for your favorite destination! If it’s not in the list, let us know in the comments below.

Flint Hills Festival 2018 at the Flint Hills Discovery Center

This Saturday May 19 is the annual Flint Hills Festival. From 10am to 5pm at the Flint Hills Discovery Center there will be food and music and fun.

Plus, from the website, “During the festival, ticketholders also receive admission to the Flint Hills Discovery Center’s newest exhibit, Be the Dinosaur. Visitors will use virtual technology to eat, sleep, and live as a dinosaur! ”

Regular admission rates apply:

  • Adult (18-64) | $9.00
  • Youth (2-17) | $4.00
  • *Military, College Students, Educators & Seniors (65+) | $7.00
  • Members & Under 2 | FREE

Big Kansas Road Trip – going on now! Barber, Comanche and Kiowa counties

The Kansas Sampler Festival had its last run in 2017, but to replace it is the Big Kansas Road Trip.

From May 3 to May 6 2018, in three counties: Barber, (Hardtner, Hazelton, Isabel, Kiowa, Medicine Lodge, Sharon and Sun City); Comanche (Coldwater, Protection and Wilmore) and Kiowa (Greensburg, Haviland and Mullinville), the red carpet is rolled out for visitors with events and deals at local restaurants and stores.

From the website with details on the event: WHAT IF…

…people who have never been to your towns and countryside before fall in love with what rural communities offer?

…the charm of the unexpected inspires people to get hooked on exploring all over the state?

…they are a thoughtful audience, spend money, and tell everyone about their experience?

It could all be a really good thing.
All communities have to do is be the best
they can be at being themselves.

Show your Kansas love with Heartlandia stickers

While shopping at Smith’s Market in downtown Hutchinson, I spotted stickers celebrating Kansas by Heartlandia.  I bought a couple for gifts, but before I could mail them off to friends, I decided to keep them for myself! (I’ll make another trip to get the gift ones.)

I reached out and found out a bit more about this Wichita based company. Here’s what they had to say about the how, what, and why of the sticker (and t-shirt) business that celebrates the Midwest.

KTG: When did the business get started and what inspired it?

Heartlandia did not start as a business, but it turned out to be!  It started as a way for the talented, mostly young, graphic designers at Gardner Design in Wichita to be part of the Wichita/Kansas/Midwest pride scene that is surging right now. (And may I say – it’s about time!!!)  They designed 41 stickers, and while they did not do it as a money-making venture, between Thanksgiving (when the stickers were released) and Christmas of 2017 around 10,000 stickers had been sold, mostly at boutique-style stores in Wichita, Hutchinson and Salina.

Stickers, it appears, are a “thing”, especially among young people – they love to put them on their bikes, cars, computers, notebooks. It’s how they brand themselves.  But everyone seems to like the sticker idea.  For $3 you can tell the world, I love my city, my state, my part of the country!

Do you take requests for new sticker ideas?

The designs were a result of a brain-storming session the designers had, but we take suggestions all the time (ideas don’t happen in a vacuum), and we come out with new stickers occasionally.

Is there a best selling sticker?

The most popular stickers have been:  Tornado Warning, Joyland, Unibuff, Sunflower, No Coast, Ad Astra Per Aspera, and the Keeper of the Plains.

Have you ever come across one of your stickers “in the wild” / on a random person’s water bottle or car bumper or bike, etc.

We find the stickers in the wild all the time!  Many of the orders on our website are from people who now live in other parts of the country, but clearly want to stay connected to their roots by proudly displaying the stickers in their new surroundings.  It’s fantastic. There’s a few pictures of stickers caught in the wild on our Instagram account, heartlandiastix.

We recently came out with t-shirts with some of the stickers designs, and those have also been well-received.

The t-shirts are only available at some of our retail stores:  Lucinda’s, The Workroom, Vortex Souvenirs, Botanica, Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum, Watermark Books, Best of Times.

Kansas First Day Hikes 2018

It may be frigid outside (stay safe and warm), but there are a number of first day hikes around the state. Here are the Kansas parks with first-day hikes:

  • Cedar Bluff State Park
  • Cheney State Park
  • Clinton State Park
  • Crawford State Park
  • Cross Timbers State Park
  • El Dorado State Park
  • Elk City State Park
  • Fall River State Park
  • Flint Hills Nature Trail
  • Glen Elder State Park
  • Green Property – Pratt, KS
  • Hillsdale State Park
  • Kanopolis State Park
  • Meade State Park
  • Pawnee Prairie Park
  • Perry State Park
  • Pomona State Park
  • Sand Hills State Park
  • Tuttle Creek State Park
  • Wilson State Park

You can find more information on times and where to meet here at the KDWPT website. Many are pet friendly and have refreshments before or after.

Share your hike photos with #FirstDayHikes and #MyKSStatePark