Agencies schedule meetings to encourage commerce along Kansas trails

021414-flint-hills-nature-tTOPEKA, Kan. – Entrepreneurs and their communities know the challenge of attracting customers and visitors. Outdoor recreation is booming in Kansas, and the Flint Hills Nature Trail and the Kansas River National Water Trail attract large numbers of enthusiastic trail-goers looking for nearby services and activities. What can be done to attract and serve this market? That’s the central question driving a series of four community meetings to be hosted next week by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), in partnership with USDA Rural Development, NetWork Kansas, the Kansas Small Business Development Centers, Advancing Rural Prosperity and the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship.

The meetings were promised last year as part of part of a larger plan for economic development along the Kansas trails. In June 2013, KDWPT announced it had secured a $170,050 USDA Rural Enterprise grant to help develop businesses in communities along the Flint Hills Nature Trail and the Kansas River Trail corridors. See related story here.

Attendees will learn how to leverage the trails to grow their businesses, attract visitors to their communities and boost the local economy. Businesses, organizations or groups interested in trail-related development opportunities are encouraged to attend one or more of the free meetings being held in their area.

Meetings for information about the Flint Hills Nature Trail are scheduled for 4-6 p.m. Oct. 21 at the Morris County Courthouse, Council Grove, and 10 a.m.-noon Oct. 23 at Neosho County Community College’s Ottawa campus.

Meetings for those interested in commerce along the Kansas River National Water Trail are scheduled for 9:30-11:30 a.m. Oct. 22, Kaw Valley State Bank, Wamego, and 2-4 p.m. Oct. 22, De Soto City Hall, De Soto.

Each meeting will have information about the nearby trail, review business development opportunities, making communities a tourism hub along the trail and supporting resources. There will be time set aside for questions and exchanging ideas.

For more information, contact Dana Williams, Center for Rural Entrepreneurship, 402-323-7336, or email [email protected].

Meeting details:

Flint Hills Nature Trail

Council Grove

  • Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014
  • 4-6 p.m.
  • Morris County Courthouse
  • 501 W. Main St.
  • Extension meeting room (in basement)


  • Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014
  • 10 a.m.-Noon
  • Neosho County Community College – Ottawa Campus
  • Main auditorium
  • 900 E. Logan St.

Kansas River National Water Trail


  • Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014
  • 9:30-11:30 a.m.
  • Kaw Valley State Bank
  • 1015 Kaw Valley Park Circle

De Soto

  • Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014
  • 2-4 p.m.
  • De Soto City Hall
  • 32905 W. 84th St.
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