Three Kansas counties team up to work on A.B.C. Trails plan

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Three Kansas counties join forces to provide more options for tourism and healthy living. It’s the first time in the history of Kansas three rural counties are working together on a trails project.

Live Well Crawford County Executive Director Brad Stroud says Tuesday was about three counties coming together to help everyone.

“Putting together kind of a vision of a way to connect three counties,” says Brad Stroud.

And he means that literally. Thrive Allen County, the Healthy Bourbon Action Team and Live Well Crawford County, along with county commissioners from the three counties met in Ft. Scott Tuesday to take the next step in the evolution of the A.B.C. Trails master plan.

“To talk about what each county has to offer for active transportation and recreational type opportunities and provide connection between the three counties,” says Brad Stroud.

The idea behind A.B.C. Trails is to connect anchor locations, like Gunn Park in Ft. Scott, to other places, like the Pittsburg Wilderness Park, through hiking and biking trails.

“We think it’s the first time that three rural counties in Kansas have cooperated on an active transportation plan,” says Randy Rasa.

Randy Rasa is a board member for Thrive Allen County, and one of those who helped to design the trail plan.

“To begin with we’re looking at bicycle routes probably using public roads, and long term we’re hoping to build some more trails,” says Rasa.

Crawford county commissioner Jeremy Johnson says whatever the future holds, it will be better, because the three counties are working towards it together.

“We’re not just maintaining a system now and preserving it,  we are literally building the future in terms of infrastructure, and policy and what our communities will look like, not just for ourselves, but for our children and our grandchildren,” says Jeremy Johnson.

Stroud calls getting to this a point a win, but says the biggest victory is in what lies ahead.

“The real thing will be to look at this in 20 years and see what kind of progress that we’ve made,” says Stroud.

At today’s meeting, commissioners from the three counties announced their selections for the A.B.C. Trails Board. That group will be tasked with helping to make the trails a reality over the next several years.

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