Konza to begin offering weekly guided hikes

By Corene Brisendine

A new educational program beginning Saturday at Konza Prairie Biological Station provides guided hiking tours on the prairie.

The hikes complement the Flint Hills Discovery Center by providing personal, outdoor contact with the prairie, said Jan Evans, program assistant. Guides will provide educational information on the biological, geological and historical ecosystem of the Konza Prairie along a 2.6-mile trail that takes about two hours to traverse.

The hiking tour gives participants the opportunity to view and interact with the prairie as it blooms, grows and thrives in the environment, Evans said.

The tours will be offered each Saturday, weather permitting, at 1 p.m. beginning at the parking area at the main entrance to the Konza Prairie, about 6 miles south of Manhattan on McDowell Creek Road. Evans said this is the first year Konza staff is offering the tours, and they will continue to conduct them as long as they have guides and people wanting to go. All the guides are trained volunteers.

To go on the hike, Evans said it is important to wear sturdy shoes made for hiking. While there is a bathroom facility along the trail, there is no drinking water available. She said the trail is not handicap accessible, or stroller or bike friendly. Pets must stay at home, and smoking is not allowed. Officials ask that participants pay the $2 fee, which goes toward trail maintenance, but it is not required.

People interested in going on the hikes can simply show up on Saturday. For more information, visit the website or call (785) 587-0381.

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