Thrive Allen County and the Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy jointly announced this week that the 51-mile Prairie Spirit Trail will be extended south 6.5 miles from Iola. This addition will follow the regulations of the National Trails Act and will extend along a 6.5-mile out-of-service rail line between Iola and Humboldt.
“We are very excited about extending the Prairie Spirit Trail to Humboldt,” offered David Toland, Thrive Allen County Executive Director. “This will not only let people travel safely between the two communities, it will encourage people to exercise for health. It will also allow people to gather for festivals and informal socializing and, thus, build a sense of community.”
Combined with the 1.5-mile segment the City of Iola is developing within its city limits, the Prairie Spirit Trail will now be expanded by an additional eight miles. Not only will it provide a safe place for bicycling, walking, jogging, and bird watching, it will improve the overall quality of life in the communities by making the region a more attractive place in which to live and work.
“We are now counting on local groups and individuals to come forward to build this scenic trail segment, said Clark Coan, Public Information Specialist for Sunflower Rail-Trails Conservancy. “The trail will be similar to the existing Prairie Spirit Trail with its crushed limestone surface. However, we will be able to do it much cheaper using local volunteer labor and donations. We estimate the project will cost $60,000. When it is complete, we hope to turn it over to another entity such as the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.”
“The Conservancy’s mission is to work in partnership with communities to transform out-of-service rail corridors into outstanding recreational trails which will provide a place for families, youth and seniors to walk, bicycle or jog safely away from traffic, said Coan. “We believe that if we are able to get just one child out on a trail that, as a result, develops a love of nature and exercise, we have been successful.”
A series of informational meetings will be held in the two communities this summer and fall.