Lawrence L. Brady, Kansas Geological Survey
Although often criticized for their efforts, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) recognized early the recreational needs of the population; those needs were included as an important part of the major water projects it has developed in Kansas and the Midwest. Several of those reservoirs are on major tributaries to rivers and streams of the Kansas River. Along the Kansas River and its tributaries, the USACE recognized 29 potential sites for possible future development for recreation uses. The Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service (HCRS), a Federal agency that was abolished in 1981, with some of its functions assigned to the National Park Service (including river recreation), and the Kansas Parks and Resources Authority (now part of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks) further evaluated those sites selected by the USACE. Factors included in their selection and evaluation are access, water attraction, vegetative cover, soils, land use, slope, user availability, and costs to acquire and develop the land. Table 4.1 is an abbreviated version of the original table (HCRS, 1980, table 1) and lists the 15 sites selected along/or very close to the Kansas River, giving general characteristics and evaluation of each site. Only one of the 15 sites was found to be unsuitable, while 12 sites rated good, and two rated fair on over-all site qualities.
TABLE 4.1--Evaluation criteria for potential recreation sites along the Kansas River as evaluated by the Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service and the Kansas Parks and Resources Authority from sites initially determined by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Selected information shown in this table is from HCRS (1980, Table 1).
Potential Activities Code: B-Boating; BI-Bicycling; C-Camping; CA-Canoeing; F-Fishing; H-Hiking; HR-Horseback Riding; NS-Nature Study; P-Picnicking; S-Sailing; SW-Swimming; T- Tennis; WP-Walking for Pleasure; WS-Water Skiing
A 57-mile (91.2-km) portion of the Kansas River from I-635 (RM 7.4) to the confluence of the Delaware River with the Kansas River just north of Lecompton at RM 64.4 also was studied by the Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service as a potential addition to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System of the United States. This study (HCRS, 1980), presented in draft form, is the important part of Appendix 7 of that report, that was published separately from the USACE (1980) Kansas and Osage Rivers, Kansas Study.
A summary of the eligibility of the Kansas River to meet the 1970 guidelines for inclusion with the National Wild and Scenic Rivers (HCRS, 1980, table 2, p. 14), Table 4.2 in this study, showed that a 57-mile (91.2-km) reach of the Kansas River meets the necessary criteria. Further discussion in the HCRS (1980) report indicates that selected stretch of the Kansas River could be classified as a recreational river, based on conditions that existed at the time of the study. The important points from the HCRS (1980) study determining how the Kansas River meets the criteria for consideration as a recreational river are summarized in the report (p.16) as follows:
TABLE 4.2--Summary of the eligibility criteria of the Kansas River 57-mile (91.2-km) segment (RM 7.4 to RM 64.4) for inclusion in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Information included in HCRS, 1980, table 2, p.14.
|Characteristics||57-mile (91.2-km) Segment|
|Free-flowing Nature Affected by|
|Impoundments||One Low-head Dam|
|Length||57 Miles (91.2 km)|
|Water Quality Meets Criteria for:|
|Secondary Contact Recreation||Yes|
|Fish and Aquatic-life Propagation||Yes|
|Outstanding Remarkable Values|
|Fish and Wildlife||Yes|
|Historic and Archeologic||Yes|
|Eligibility for National Wild and Scenic River System||Eligible|
The report presented recommendations for development of the 57-mile (91.2-km) segment (RM 7.4 to RM 64.4) as a recreational river component of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The report further presents general plans for the necessary development to be accomplished for that inclusion. Basically, easements on 272 acres (110.1 ha) at nine specific sites would need to be undertaken by a sponsoring agency. The principal objective of the recreational river concept is to provide enhanced recreational opportunities (USACE, 1981, p. B10).
The USACE (1981, p. 75) report concerning the 57-mile (91.2-km) segment of the Kansas River proposed by the HCRS as a recreation river concluded the HCRS proposal to be desirable based on recreation and environmental values. The USACE, however, determined that additional bank-stabilization measures would be necessary to ensure the integrity of the plan. No USACE analysis of recreation values, benefits, or costs was performed on the HCRS plan.
With this multiagency study underway at the time of drafting of this study by the Kansas Geological Survey, no additional discussion will be made in this report of the recreational uses of the Kansas River. The multi-agency group includes several agencies better prepared to address the importance and details of a recreation corridor along portions of or all of the 170 miles (272 km) of the Kansas River from Kansas City to Junction City.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1980, Reconnaissance report--Kansas and Osage rivers, Kansas: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District.
________, 1981, Stage 2 report--Kansas and Osage rivers, Kansas: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District.
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