By COLE REIF
Great Bend Post
The City of Great Bend is now among one of the few towns in Kansas to
have a single-track mountain bike and hiking trail within city limits.
A group of area bicyclists who maintain the Lake Barton trail, north of town, have created a path around Rotary Lake, formerly known as MacArthur Lake.
Bicyclist enthusiast Todd VanSkike was able to get several students from Great Bend High School’s Future Farmers of America (FFA) group to volunteer to create the path.
"We had a work day this past weekend, and I met a few of them out there to help me mow and clear some trees," said VanSkike. "The FFA sponsor said we can get a bunch more kids out there to have a massive cleanup day because there is a ton of trash around that lake."
The approximately 1.8-mile trail is accessible to people of all ages and makes use of an area that is underutilized.
At no cost to the city, the Great Bend
City Council was in favor of the path but they did hear a few concerns from
neighbors that live nearby the trail on MacArthur Road. City Administrator Kendal Francis said the issues expressed by those property
owners related to extra traffic near their property.
"The south side of Rotary Lake, we have some undesirable activities that take place there now," said Francis. "I tried to assure the property owners that this project would help deter some of that. They spoke multiple times about property damage and vandalism. I think that is probably at the forefront of their thoughts about trying to protect their property."
VanSkike said trail maintenance would be minimal with essentially mowing being the only assistance needed.