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Mobility and Transportation


Continue to Promote and Develop Kansas National River Trail

Contact the Flint Hills Regional Council to learn more about the Kansas National River Trail and how you can help!

Contact the Flint Hills Regional Council »

Tool Information


  1. Conservation
  2. Tourism
  3. Multi-Modal Transportation
  4. Health
  5. Economic, Environmental, and Social Impacts
  6. Celebrate Culture


The Kansas River, also known as the Kaw, was designated as a National River Trail in 2012, which enables the National Park Service to work with state and local government to improve access to the River and encourage public use.  Improvements include better signage along the river for paddlers, additional and better maintained and publicized access points, and greater publicity overall about the recreational opportunities the River affords. 


As the river becomes a more popular destination, there is an opportunity for additional outfitters to rent canoes and kayaks and provide services such as transportation to and from River access points.


Photo by Patrick Emerson, 2009 (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Photo by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 2010 (CC BY ND 2.0)


The Kansas National River Trail is a great example of developing natural resources to attract visitors to the Flint Hills and to create amenities that can attract and retain talent and grow the regional economy.  This improvement will also encourage active lifestyles and increase the health of people in the region.

River Health

Reducing pollution is necessary in order to promote greater use by the public, runoff and sewer overflows during higher rain events are major sources of pollutions.  Municipalities along should aim to reduce the number of overflow events by creating overflow control plans and implementing green infrastructure and other improvements to increase capacity of the sewers or preventing water from entering the sewers.  Pollution from industry along the river should also be controlled.  


Kansas River Sunset Photo by Adam Sparks, 2009 (CC BY 2.0)

Additional Information

The following resources provide additional information about the Kansas National River Trail.

Implementation Strategy

Champions and Partners

  • US National Park Service
  • Kansas Department of Parks, Wildlife and Tourism
  • Local jurisdictions 


Short (1-3 years)



Cost Details

Kansas River Trail improvements are relatively inexpensive infrastructure projects that benefit regional economies by attracting visitor and retaining talented employees.  Costs include signage, trail maintenance and development, administrative expenses, marketing and business development.  

Funding Sources

The National River Trail designations 

Implementation Details

A brief outline of the first few steps necessary for implementation are provided. The steps outlined here are provided only as a suggested starting point and other approaches are certainly valid.

  • Continue to improve signage and access to the River
  • Marketing to promote the use of the River for recreation
  • Network and provide support for businesses that are providing outfitting services

Case Study

The Old Buffalo River Trail

The Old Buffalo River Trail criss-crosses back and forth across the Buffalo National River from Ponca to Pruitt.  Long before this was a national park, the river was home to pioneer families who moved up and down the river by horse-drawn wagon and eventually automobile or truck.  You can still see skeletal remains of some of these abandoned vehicles as you travel the Old River Trail.  



Buffalo National River Trail is an example of a recreational amenity that connects visitors along scenic areas and between business centers on either end and along the way.  The recreation provides an amenity and supports local businesses along the way.  Those who can gain access to the natural beauty of the river also become its protectors.