New Committee Looking for Kaw River Tourism, Growth

State group will build on designation of Kaw River as National Water Trail.

Published on: Apr 18, 2013

Gov. Sam Brownback has formed a Kansas River Development Committee to recommend ways to spur recreational use of the Kansas River and develop tourism and economic growth along the river.

The committee's work will build on the July 2012 designation of the Kansas River as a National Water Trail by U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. The river is also called the Kaw.

A tremendous asset for Kansas

"The Kaw is a tremendous asset for Kansas," Brownback noted. "The designation of the river as a National Water Trail brings national attention to our state and will help steer Kansas residents and visitors to the region. We deeply appreciate our partnership with the National Park Service and their help with moving this effort forward."

The Kansas River (the Kaw) begins at the confluence of the Republican and Smoky Hill Rivers near Junction City and flows 173 miles to Kansas City where it joins the Missouri River.
The Kansas River (the Kaw) begins at the confluence of the Republican and Smoky Hill Rivers near Junction City and flows 173 miles to Kansas City where it joins the Missouri River.

According to Robin Jennison, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, enabling people to access the river requires the partnership of cities and counties where ramps are located.

"There are 18 river ramps located in 15 communities along the river, and another ramp is nearly completed at Belvue.  We would like to add at least two more ramps between Belvue and Topeka," he said. "Without the involvement of local governments, landowners and other stakeholders, these ramps would not have been possible and access to the river would be seriously hampered."~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~

Current members of the committee are  Abby Amick – Economic Development Director for Wabaunsee County; Laura Calwell – Kansas Riverkeeper, Friends of the Kaw; Robert L. Cole – Director, Pottawatomie County Economic Development Corporation;l Beth Fager – Campaign Director, Great Overland Station Museum; Connie Hall – Executive Director, Geary County Convention & Visitors Bureau; Charmion Harris – Owner, Lake Adventures, Milford; Karen Hibbard – Vice President, Manhattan Convention and Visitors Bureau; Bridgette Jobe – Executive Director, Kansas City Kansas Convention & Visitors Bureau, Inc.;Eric Laws – President, Kansas Canoe and Kayak Association; Brian Leaders – Landscape Architect, National Park Service; Corey Mohn – Director of Statewide Programs, NetWork Kansas; Shalyn Murphy – Communications and Marketing Director, Visit Topeka; Greg Panichello – Kansas Small Business Development Center, Fort Hays State University; Christina Phelps – Visit Lawrence; Sara R. Ritter – Executive Director, De Soto Chamber of Commerce; Julie Roller – Development Associate, Pottawatomie County Economic Development Corp.; Sue Stringer – Kansas Byways and Agritourism manager, KDWPT and Roger Wolfe – Committee Chair, Northeast Kansas Wildlife Supervisor, KDWPT.

About the Kaw

The Kansas River (the Kaw) begins at the confluence of the Republican and Smoky Hill Rivers near Junction City and flows 173 miles to Kansas City where it joins the Missouri River.

It is considered to be one of the longest prairie rivers in the world.

Its watershed drains almost the entire northern half of Kansas and parts of Nebraska and Colorado (53,000 square miles).

It was designated as a National Water Trail by U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on July 14, 2012, the second river to be added to the National Water Trail system.

Major cities along the river include Junction City, Manhattan, Topeka, Lawrence and Kansas City.

There are 18 access points along the river at 15 communities. A 19th ramp is soon to be completed at Belvue.

River travelers can enjoy canoeing and kayaking, camping on sandbars, fishing, wildlife watching, or they can just take a lazy float trip and soak up the sun and the beautiful scenery.

For a short video about the Kansas River National Water Trail, click here.