Search Results for: Flint Hills Nature Trail

Nature News: Lesson learned – enjoying nature in shorts is not always enjoyable

Thore rests along a trail in the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve and enjoys the scenic view of the Flint Hills.

Photo thanks to Taylor.

State assistant tourism secretary to speak at rail trail meeting in Osage City

The Flint Hills Nature Trail extends down the old Missouri Pacific Railroad as far as the eye can see at the edge of Osage City.



Linda Craghead, Assistant Secretary of Tourism, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism will be the keynote speaker at the 2013 annual meeting of the Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy. Registration starts at 11:15 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, at Osage County Senior Center, 604 Market St., Osage City, with lunch being served at noon. RSVPs for lunch ($10) were requested by Nov. 15. Craghead will speak at 12:30 p.m. All trail enthusiasts are invited to attend.

Conservancy receives $25,000 for Landon Trail; Flint Hills Trail gets federal funds

TOPEKA—Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy announced June 12 that it has received a $25,000 recognition grant from the Kansas Health Foundation. The funds will be used to help complete the 38-mile Landon Nature Trail in Shawnee County. A hard-packed, crushed limestone surface will be installed on the seven remaining miles in the county.


Let our online readers know about your equine services. Osage County’s Flint Hills Nature Trail and Landon Nature Trail, along with horse trails at Pomona Lake and Melvern Lake, attract horse lovers and pleasure riders who need to know about your services. Osage County News can help you connect with local customers. Contact us at 785-828-4994 or [email protected] for more information.

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2-mile section of Landon Trail to open near Overbrook

The Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy has announced that work completed this winter and spring is expected to result in an open portion of the Landon Nature Trail near Overbrook. 

Commissioner gives blunt answers to rails-to-trails detractor

Jim Foster

Osage County Commissioner Gaylord Anderson, left, listens as Jim Foster presents concerns to the commission about rails-to-trails during the March 4 meeting.

Rains and flooding bog down local state parks and Corps campgrounds

Earlier this week, Corps staff closed the main road just south of the Wolf Creek Park entrance, at Pomona Lake, and asked visitors to not drive around the barricade. USACE photo.

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism has reported that recent frequent heavy rains are impacting some state parks in eastern Kansas. High water levels at area Corps reservoirs have flooded campgrounds, overtopped roads, closed boat ramps and beaches and dampened visitors’ enthusiasm for any outdoor activities.

In Osage County, campgrounds have been impacted at Pomona Lake and Melvern Lake due to high levels of retained water at those lakes. (See related story: Corps plans public meeting on high water conditions at Pomona and Melvern lakes) Recent rains have also affected the trail conditions on the Flint Hills Nature Trail.

Eisenhower State Park at Melvern Lake remains open as of May 22, 2019. The lake is 16.01 feet above conservation level, and outflow is 20 cubic feet per second minimum. The lake is projected to be 18.8 feet above conservation level by May 30. Park staff is shutting down all the electrical connections in Blackjack and Abilene campgrounds. Almost all primitive sites are underwater, and the beach and beach restroom are closed.

Corps of Engineers campgrounds closed at Melvern Lake include:

  • Arrow Rock: Sites 8-10, 12-15, 19 and 35-45 are closed through June 30, 2019; sites 6 and 7 are closed through June 20.
  • Coeur d’Alene: Sites 9-32 are closed through June 30.
  • Turkey Point: Sites 1-8 and 23 are closed through May 30; sites 9-22 are closed through June 30; site 30 is closed through May 28 (closure extension to come); Group Camp closed through June 30. More closures are expected in the Turkey Point Campground to come in the following days. Arrow Rock and Coeur d’Alene closure extensions possible. Should these sites come out from under water and be cleaned up before their closure end date, they will be opened up for reservations.
  • Outlet Park remains unaffected by this flood event.
  • All boat ramps have stopped charging fees and the courtesy docks have been pulled.

At Pomona Lake, Pomona State Park is open. The lake is 23.26 ft above conservation level, and outflow is 15 cfs minimum. The lake is about 9 feet from going over the spillway. The lake is projected to 26 feet above conservation level by May 31. The marina started moving all houseboats off the water as of Wednesday, and also shut down all electrical service to the marina area.

Big Bear Campground is closed. The Kansa shower building is closed. Staff is closing six sites on the marina side of Kansa Campground and all Kansa primitive sites. The park road to east side of the park is closed; the back gate is open on the county road.

Corps campgrounds closed at Pomona Lake include:

  • Wolf Creek Park – All sites remain closed and will be through the weekend. All reservations for Memorial weekend have been cancelled and fully refunded.
  • Michigan Valley Park – Loops A, B, C, D, E, F and G are closed, and will remain closed through the weekend.
  • Adams Grove and Cedar Park remain closed. Coon Creek crossing is still closed and will likely be through the weekend. All Corps boat ramps remain closed.

The Flint Hills Trail remains open with the surface firm in most locations.

Learn how to establish a pollinator garden

Monarch butterflies along the Flint Hills Nature Trail. Photo thanks to Kareen King.

The Frontier Extension District and Anderson County Conservation District will host a public meeting, “Starting a Pollinator Garden”, at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 14, 2019, at the community building in Garnett, Kan.

Bret Laprarie, territory sales agronomist for Sharp Brothers Seed Company, will talk about establishing a pollinator garden. He will discuss plant species that should be considered, and how to maintain a garden for our pollinator friends.

To cap the evening off, John Conway, resource conservationist with the Kansas Association of Conservation Districts, will visit with the group about monarch butterflies and how to build a habitat to help them survive their trip south.

This meeting is packed full of information to consume and to take home. Anyone interested in learning more about these topics should attend. The Anderson County Conservation District and the Frontier Extension District will provide some light refreshments for the evening.

For more information, contact Ryan Schaub at 785-448-6826 or Debbie Davis at 785-448-6323 ext. 101.

Extension invites monarch butterfly lovers to learn how to improve habitat

Monarch butterflies along the Flint Hills Nature Trail. Photo thanks to Kareen King.

The Frontier Extension District will host a public meeting on building a habitat for monarch butterflies. The meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. March 8, 2018, at Celebration Hall, West 17th St, Ottawa, Kan., located next to the fairgrounds.

Sarah Zukoff, an assistant professor from K-State Southwest Research and Extension Center located in Garden City, will discuss Monarch behavior and migration, plants to plant to build butterfly habitat, and how to keep pollinators around.

Chamber Chatter: Looking back at 2017

Information from Jeanette Swarts
Osage City Chamber of Commerce

The Osage City Chamber of Commerce had a busy year in 2017, welcoming several new businesses to the community. Ribbon cuttings were held Jan. 17,  at That Other Place; Feb. 14, Eclipse Computer Solutions and Erin’s Sewing Center;  June 27, Garrett’s Fireworks; and Aug. 15, Branded Graphics.

After hours mixers

Throughout the year, several Osage City Chamber of Commerce members hosted after hours mixers showcasing their businesses. Members enjoyed the hospitality of Ecumenical Christian Action Team (ECAT) in March, the Osage City Public Library, celebrating its a new addition in September, and Designs by Diane in December.

Kansas Sampler Festival

The 28th and final annual Kansas Sampler Festival was held in Winfield on May 6-7, 2017. Dave and Tara Azwell have been loyal representatives of Osage City for a number of years as well as Wayne White and Jan Williams. Julie Carlson also went and helped out at the booth.


The Osage City Chamber of Commerce announced Tracy Wilk and Trey Tomlinson were the 2017 recipients of the $250 scholarship. Tracy, daughter of Sally and Ken Wilk, will be attending Colby Community College, and Trey, son of Paula and Robert Tomlinson, will be attending Wichita State University in the fall. The revenue from the $5 that sellers pay to be listed on the maps for the spring and fall garage sales goes directly for these two scholarships.

Osage County Fair and parade

Diane Michael was in charge of the fair parade, which was June 29. Along with the floats, band and other entries, decorated golf carts and ATVs were invited to participate in the parade this year. The theme for the parade was “Summertime Fun”.  Diane had several new entries in the parade and is hoping that the parade will continue to grow. Parade honorees were Ann Lusk as the 2017 parade marshal, and Richard and Jeanette Swarts selected as Mr. and Mrs. Osage City.

Osage City Chamber of Commerce Festival of Beer 

Sept. 30 marked the fifth annual Osage City Chamber Festival of Beer. The event was located at the 4-H pavilion. Patrons were able to enjoy beautiful weather, live music, good food and most importantly taste more than 100 beers. The funds from this event helps the Chamber with many different projects around Osage City, such as scholarships for high school seniors, the Warmth Fund, ECAT,  the Fourth of July fireworks and much more.

Runners, bikers to ‘Rush the Rails’ Saturday

FLINT HILLS NATURE TRAIL, Kan. – Where locomotives once chugged across the eastern-Kansas prairie, hikers, joggers and bicyclists can trek the same route today along the currently completed 95 miles of the Flint Hills Nature Trail. On Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, the first Rush the Rails event will fill the trail with riders and bikers, with a planned relay race, bike rides and festivities along the completed portions of trail.

Starting at Osawatomie in the east to Council Grove in the west, four and eight-person relay teams will set out at 7:30 a.m. from John Brown Park, in Osawatomie, and run the entire 96-mile route (a short detour adds an extra mile to the 95-mile trail). Bikers can choose from three distances: the full 96 miles starting at Osawatomie (7 a.m.), 54 miles from Pomona State Park (8:30 a.m.), or 25 from Admire (10:30 a.m.), with all running and cycling events ending in Council Grove.

Chamber Chatter: Beer festival adds spirits to Chamber’s fall activities

By Jeanette Swarts, Executive Director

Osage City Chamber of Commerce Festival of Beer

Come sample dozens of craft and import beers featuring several brewed right here in Kansas. Enjoy the music of The Bryton Stoll Band while satisfying your hunger from the Saucy Lady BBQ food truck.

There will be a raffle table with drawings for some awesome craft beer related items. Every taster will get a sample glass to take home. Event will be from 3-6 p.m. Sept. 30 at the 4-H pavilion, fairgrounds. Ticket sales benefit the Osage City Chamber of Commerce, which in turn benefits the Warmth Fund, E.C.A.T., college scholarships for high school seniors and the July 4 fireworks, among others.

Advance tickets are just $25 with tickets at the door $30. Tickets are available at Jerrys Thriftway, Stark Carwash, Bank of Osage City, Mulready’s Pub in Emporia and online at All attendees must be at least 21 years of age.

Man without a mission strolls through America’s hospitality

Larry and Debi Chrum offered Osage City hospitality and a home away from home to continental walker CJ Richards, right.

OSAGE CITY, Kan. – When CJ Richards started walking from his home in Derry, N.H., on May 7, he thought his trek would introduce him to America’s sights. Instead, as he realized not far from home, he had set out to meet America’s people.

Now, more than halfway through his 3,000-plus-mile trip to the California coast, Richards says his connection with people along the way is what has kept him walking.

“I’ve learned people are out to help you, not out to get you,” Richards said last week, sitting at the kitchen table in Debi and Larry Chrum’s home in Osage City.

His connection to the Chrums was just one example of him meeting people along the way who have offered hospitality to a traveling stranger.

Richards readily admits his decision to walk across the United States was for his own pursuit of happiness. He’s not walking for a cause or representing a charity.

He said he has enjoyed hiking since he was young, when he and a friend started hiking together while in Boy Scouts. And living in New Hampshire, the Appalachian Trail was practically in his back yard.

He had thought about taking a long hike before, such as the entire Appalachian Trail, but had also considered a cross-country trip.

Now 25 years old, he said he began thinking that he wasn’t getting younger, and there might not be another time when he was as unencumbered by life’s responsibilities.

“I started looking at my brothers, how they are involved with their families and jobs,” Richards said, “and thought now was my chance. I thought, ‘I’ve got to get going and do this now.’”

Start a new tradition with a first day hike at Kansas state parks

PRATT, Kan. – We start each year with a sense of optimism – new year, new day, new beginning. So how about starting a new tradition that’s not only fun but healthy – start 2017 with a First Day Hike at one of Kansas’ 26 state parks. Kansas state parks and trails are open year-round, and winter can be a fantastic time to visit; the winter landscape is beautiful, quiet and peaceful, wildlife species are visible as they busily search for food, and summer crowds are a distant memory.

If you’re not familiar with Kansas’ state park trails but would like to learn, you’ll find just what you’re looking for at a First Day Hike event, Jan. 1, 2017. First Day Hike events will include guided hikes, educational programs and refreshments. Hikers should wear warm clothing and good trail footwear and bring water, a camera and binoculars. Pets are welcome, but must be leashed at all times. Don’t forget your favorite animal identification guides, too. Events in and near Osage County include:

Pomona State Park – This hike will feature multiple areas. Hikers should meet at the Pomona State Park office at 12:30 p.m. Trails are rated as easy and are 4.5-5 miles long. Call the park office at 785-828-4933 for more information.

Eisenhower State Park – This hike will feature the archery, bike and scooter trails, which are rated easy to moderate and are 1 to 2 miles long. Hikers should meet at Five Star and West Point campgrounds at 10 a.m. Coffee will be provided. Call the park office at 785-528-4102 for more information.

Depart on a healthy adventure at Pomona State Park

Pomona State Park is inviting you on a Saturday afternoon adventure, as the park joins other state parks in celebration of Healthy Trails Adventure Day, on Saturday, Oct. 1. That day, free admission will be offered at any of Kansas’ 26 state parks, where you can unwind from the work week and make some new family memories.

Pomona State Park will celebrate with a guided hike at 1 p.m. Oct. 1, on the nearby Flint Hills Nature Trail. Hikers should meet at the park’s entrance before departure.

The hike on the Flint Hills Nature Trail will be from state Highway 368 to Vassar, approximately two miles round trip. The trail also offers options for longer hikes.

Healthy Trails Adventure Day, as promoted by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, encourages everyone to explore Kansas state parks by foot, bike, horse, canoe or kayak, and to make outdoor exercise a healthy habit.

Hidden History: Circus entertainer chose Osage City for zoological garden, castle

By Wendi Bevitt

Just after 1900, Osage City was the home to its own zoological garden complete with its own castle for a headquarters. In this garden, however, the lions didn’t roar, there were no trumpets from the elephants or growls from the bears. They were all as still as a statue – literally.

The garden was the creation of a man named Clyde Hogan. Clyde was the son of Thomas and Nancy (Crowder) Hogan.  Thomas had served his country in the Civil War in the 51st Illinois Infantry for 3 1/2 years. The family had come to Osage County in 1877.  According to the 1887 Osage City directory, the family lived at 1141 Murray Street.  This location is in the northeast portion of present day Osage City around the Flint Hills Nature Trail.

Clyde Hogan was born in 1886 prior to the move to the Murray Street address.  It is unknown whether they stayed at this address or stayed in the “northeast part of town”, but by the early 1900s they were living in a castle that served as a backdrop for the emerging zoological gardens. Clyde had taken an interest in amusement parks and had started touring with an amusement group. By early 1906 construction was nearly completed on Clyde’s re-creation of what surrounded him during his circus life. The house strongly resembled a “Katzenjammer castle” used most commonly as a fun house. Plaster animals dotted the front yard, posing for guests who came to gaze at the spectacle and a magnificent gate beckoned them in.

Clyde’s circus life didn’t stop there.

With spring comes smoke at Osage City: 2016 Smoke in the Spring

Spring is finally here, but that’s not the only thing we’ve waited all winter for. At Osage City, when spring arrives it means that smoke is not far behind – barbecue smoke that is. And in a week, on April 8, smoke will be flowing from cookers in Jones Park as the 2016 Smoke in the Spring State BBQ Championship gets under way.

Osage City’s annual barbecue celebration promises to be the best ever this year, with 114 teams signed up to compete, beating last year’s record of 96 competitors.

“This will be the largest contest here ever,” said organizer Corey Linton, Osage City Parks and Recreation director, who noted Osage City’s hospitality continues to be a major draw for barbecue teams, barbecue judges and other participants in the weekend celebration.

Smoke in the Spring got its start in 2003, and has gained competitors every year since then. This year’s competitor limit had been set at 102, but due to numerous continuing requests to be in the contest, Linton made space for a dozen more cooking teams.

“I know our event is popular, but didn’t really realize until this week how well regarded our contest is nationally,” Linton said. “We have had teams actively recruiting for us – that’s says something about our event.”

He said local support for the contest is evident and appreciated by those who have participated in the past.

“Ultimately it’s that word of mouth that helps us,” he said. “Teams have a lot of appreciation for that community support. If they go to the grocery store, to get gas, or to the bank, people show they know they are barbecue contestants, and tell them glad they’re here. People love our event.”

Kaw Nation to dedicate new park features on original land near Council Grove

Public is invited to dance and ceremony at historic site

COUNCIL GROVE – The Kaw Nation will dedicate a new dance arbor, campsites and trails at Allegawaho Memorial Heritage Park at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 25, 2015. Native dancers will perform at 3:30 p.m. at the dance arbor. Visitors are advised to bring a lawn chair. The park is located 3 1/2 miles south of Council Grove on Dunlap Road, then one-half mile east on X Avenue. The park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The park and campsites are a short distance from the Flint Hills Nature Trail.

The dedication will be led by Kaw Nation Tribal Council Chair Elaine Huch and council members Erin Kekahbah, Gena Warren, Jason Murray, Jim Lesert, Patti Kramer and Terry Pepper Clinton.

Council Grove was the last location of the Kanzas before they were removed to Indian Territory in 1873. On February 28, 2000, the Kaw Nation purchased 146.8 acres of their original land along Little John Creek, and it was dedicated as Allegawaho Memorial Heritage Park on April 20, 2002.

Free state parks day: No strings attached for enjoying your local outdoors

If you’re looking for a quality family activity that doesn’t cost money and doesn’t come with strings attached, take advantage of the Kansas state parks free park entrance events on April 25.

Both of Osage County’s state parks, Eisenhower and Pomona, are participating in the statewide day when families can visit any Kansas state park without the purchase of a daily vehicle permit. Select parks will be providing additional family-friendly activities during the day, such as guided hikes, animal displays, prize drawings, and fishing and archery.

Eisenhower State Park, at Melvern Lake, will be hosting an open house 8 a.m.-4 p.m., April 25, kicking off with the 7th annual Run for Warmth 5K (registration required). Archery instruction for youth along with 3D targets will be available. A kids fishing derby has been planned at the youth fishing pond, with fishing equipment available. Friends of Eisenhower State Park will be cooking up 200 hot dogs for lunch – first come, first served until gone. In addition, an RV will be on display in the Churchill Campground. For more information, contact Eisenhower State Park at 785-528-4102.

At Pomona State Park, a flower planting party is planned for 10 a.m.-2 p.m. April 25, with everyone invited to bring a flower or bulb to share. Friends of Pomona State Park will also have flowers available to plant, along with some flower beds ready for planting. Everyone is encouraged to bring gloves and garden tools. In addition, the park office will be open 9 a.m.-3 p.m. that Saturday. For more information, contact Pomona State Park at 785-828-4933.

At Osage City, where there’s smoke, there’s barbecue

Where there’s smoke there’s fire, but don’t be alarmed when it’s billowing out of Osage City’s Jones Park next week. All of that smoke and mouth-watering aromas will be coming from the record number of barbecue contestants at the 12th annual Smoke in the Spring State BBQ Championship, April 10-11, 2015.

The annual community barbecue festival and contest has drawn 96 competition teams for this year’s event, the most ever to compete in what has become a renowned barbecue contest in the central U.S.

According to the contest’s organizer, Corey Linton, Osage City Parks and Recreation director, teams from eight states put their names in early to fill the available contest spots. Linton said the contest has continued to grow in popularity, resulting in more contestants wanting to compete for a share of the prize money offered at Osage City. This year $13,000 will be awarded for those who cook up the best chicken, pork, brisket and ribs. The most teams previously competing was 84.

Osage City Area Arts Council exposition to feature local artists

Kareen King’s photography will be among local artists’ work on display during the Feb. 28 Art Expo at Osage City. King shot this sunset photo west of the Osage/Lyon county line along the Flint Hills Nature Trail.

Two years ago the Osage City Area Arts Council hosted its first Osage City Art Expo. Their goal was to provide area artists the opportunity to acquaint the community with their work. The arts council will once again host this event 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, Feb. 28, at St. Brigid Hall, Sixth and Lord streets, Osage City.

Artists will display and offer their work for sale. The following artists will participate: Mary Buek, acrylic painting; Al Park, photography; Cathy Lieber, jewelry; Becky Weaver, mixed media; Hannah Wilson, oil painting; Alice Peterson, jewelry; Kareen King, photography; and Gail Bean, drawing and painting. A members-only reception will be held for the artists and their guests on Friday evening, but Saturday morning the public is invited to visit with the artists and view their artwork during the expo.

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