Manhattan’s hiking options are relatively limited. That’s why when the director of Konza Prairie threatened to close the six mile Kings Creek loop last year, there was a public outcry. Konza is the most scenic, well maintained trail close to town, and one of the best hiking trails in Kansas. It would be a tragedy for outdoor lovers to lose such a great resource. But when careless hikers began ignoring the rules by bringing their dogs and going off trail, it interfered with the site’s scientific research and the trail was almost shut down permanently. Word of the potential closure spread through social media quickly. Whether the threat was taken seriously, or it just made people more aware of the rules, the illegal activities seem to have tapered off. It’s been some time since the director has had to make a statement about the violators. It’s a good sign that at least some people do care about hiking enough to change their behavior or speak up when others don’t. For now, the trail remains open to the public.
Konza has been my favorite place in Kansas to spend time (both on and off the clock), so it seemed like the appropriate place for my very last posted Prairie Fire trip. We had a group or 14 hike the six mile loop. Despite the previous night’s snow storm, the skies were blue and the temperature in the 50’s. Afterwards we ate downtown at Hibachi Hut.