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Archive for Saturday, July 15, 2006

Yahoo! touts beauty of Kansas prairie preserve

Flint Hills among Web site’s top five travel destinations

July 15, 2006

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Visitors enjoy a guided tour of natural prairie grasses before the Symphony in the Flint Hills concert just north of Strong City in the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. Prairie and music lovers from across the country attended last month's event, which included a performance by an 85-piece orchestra with a 100-voice chorus. It may be one reason why Yahoo! has declared the Flint Hills one of its top five travel destinations.

Visitors enjoy a guided tour of natural prairie grasses before the Symphony in the Flint Hills concert just north of Strong City in the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. Prairie and music lovers from across the country attended last month's event, which included a performance by an 85-piece orchestra with a 100-voice chorus. It may be one reason why Yahoo! has declared the Flint Hills one of its top five travel destinations.

The Flint Hills of Kansas are in the same company as Washington's Olympia State Park, California's Big Sur, Pikes Peak National Forest in Colorado and the French Quarter of New Orleans as a travel destination.

That's according to the national Web site and search engine Yahoo! that recently ranked the rolling green hills of eastern Kansas as the fifth-best destination.

"It's a little bit of a surprise to me, but my guess is that Yahoo! was probably going to some lengths to come up with a bit of a surprise to stick in there. I'm not sure where they stumbled across this," said Alan Pollom, the state director for The Nature Conservancy's Kansas chapter.

The national recognition is part of a boost of attention this month to the area that contains the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in Chase County, about 90 miles southeast of Lawrence.

On Thursday, the Kresge Foundation in Michigan announced that a campaign designed to preserve large patches of the native tallgrass prairie will receive a $750,000 bonus if the Nature Conservancy's Kansas chapter reaches its $11 million goal by the end of 2007.

The conservancy has raised $8 million for the "Kansas Prairie Legacy Campaign."

The project in Chase County consists of about 11,000 acres, Pollom said, and conservationists are working with landowners through conservation easements.

Pollom said the recent national attention to the Flint Hills could help the organization pursue the final $3 million.

He also said the Yahoo! ranking could be attributed in part to the "Symphony on the Flint Hills," a performance on the prairie last month organized by a nonprofit group in a natural amphitheater that drew more than 6,000 people.

With other projects in line, the conservancy plans to set aside $5 million for the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. The conservancy owns the land and partners with the National Park Service and the nonprofit Kansas Park Trust to keep the area open to visitors.

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- The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Comments

Morgss 8 years, 5 months ago

The State of Kansas is a undiscovered gem. From exquisite night-life, to miles and miles of beautiful landscape. In my opinion two major changes can be made which would further increase our tourism economy. Clean, and develop the Kaw River for more rafting, and canoeing. Open at least one of the Corp of Engineer lakes to private development. I do mean open, as in a Lake of the Ozarks type facility. Motels, hotels, cabins, restaurants, golf, marinas, and private homes.

My belief is there's a population of people who would use and appreciate the ease of a motel/hotel/cabin weekend with a few amenities. My, doesn't Kansas has enough camping and undeveloped water areas already?

If you don't believe this, check out how many Kansas license plates you see at Pomme de Terre in Missouri on a Summer weekend. This is considered a small lake to boot.

ASBESTOS 8 years, 5 months ago

"From exquisite night-life"

COmpared to WHAT? Dodge City? Armpit, Ill.??

"My, doesn't Kansas has enough camping and undeveloped water areas already?"

Problem there is the KDO wants to sell the lakefront property to developers and that would ruin the tourism. Can't tour private propety.

Morgss 8 years, 5 months ago

You can tour private property if it's resort. Lawrence taint too bad, pretty much anything you want going on the Kansas side of KC Metro. Live comedy and music to great great formal and informal dining. I'll give Johnson County a nod for great night-life.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 5 months ago

why do people have a hard time with this? It is beutiful out there and yahoo makes that point someone has too kansas does not.

Bialosky 8 years, 5 months ago

"LJWORLD touts value of word "TOUTS""

come on, two articles on the main page with the same verb in the headline ??

johnadavies 8 years, 5 months ago

I'm sorry, in this area of Kansas development seems to amount to a whole lot of houses of a size that would house several families and traffic circles. Until those people are stopped I wouldn't even start to work for the development of the Flint Hills let alone a Corp of Engineers lake.

Morgss 8 years, 5 months ago

For what's this is worth, hopefully the feeling of how much I care about Kansas comes through. Many years ago, had the duty of taking a fellow from Denmark around to certain businesses for a product demonstration.
Did the same old aaaaawwwwwwshucks obligatory, I bet this is going to be boring Kansans are famous for. He had just been to the East and West coasts, Boston, LA, NY.

For the next few days the questions flew from this foreign visitor. At first thought he was just being polite. No, he was fascinated with our state. From the great migration trails, to his fascination with farm land ownership. He loved working with our people, he felt comfortable. He would ask to stop often, snapping dozens of pictures. Since this experience had many visitors essentially state the same thing.

My belief is we lack a resort/tourist destination place more towards the center of the state. A place where tourists could spend a couple of days while relaxing, or taking day trips.

thorsdag 8 years, 5 months ago

Let's keep the beauties of Kansas secret and untainted. As a native of the state, now transplanted to Florida for many years, I love the prairie, but I shudder at the thought of opening it or other attractions to tourists.

If you think of this as a backward idea, just look at "Old Florida," if you can still find it. Tourism in this state has almost ruined the natural beauty of this enormous sandbar with its amazing wetlands, beaches, flora, and fauna. If the global warming alarmists are right, I look forward to the rising oceans driving out most of the coastal development and returning Florida to wilderness.

Count me anti-tourist!

T. Roberts, Sarasota FL

karolynk 8 years, 5 months ago

Count me in with Mr. Roberts. Living in northern Virginia and working in downtown DC I see little beauty in the hordes of tourists and actual residents in this overpolluted, overcrowded, overpriced and overrated place of humidity, heat, and crime. As for you Kansas voters who voted to carry conceal weapons, I sure wish you lived around here where 15 murders have occurred in the last 15 days. Leave Kansas alone and unspoiled! I can hardly wait to return to my little house in western Kansas where the only thing I see are wheat fields, hear the wind blow, and listen to the birds sing.

Morgss 8 years, 5 months ago

I can hardly wait to return to my little house in western Kansas where the only thing I see are wheat fields, hear the wind blow, and listen to the birds sing.

I do not wish to cause anger, must ask this question. Why doesn't a family from New Jersey have a right to experience what we know is our hidden gem? Who's to say? I agree, Florida, California is nothing but a walking park, so many regulations. Most coastal areas of Florida remind me of an urban zoo.

Signs ordering you to do this, not to do that, closing at ?, no to that, no swimming, the list goes on forever. Walk the shores of Lake Superior in Northern Michigan sometime. In the last month have enjoyed a morning of coffee on a sun drenched U.P. beach without another soul within 2 miles. Just me, a cool cup of Joe, and a very happy dog. Just fresh water waves rolling in on age old rounded boulders. Met my family at a lakeside fish joint restaurant later. We waited almost an hour for a table. Talk about freedom, nobody in a rush. Oh, we waited for a table by watching commercial fishermen ready boats.

It's no secret in Western Kansas, high school graduation day means saying goodbye to loved ones leaving the wheat fields, wind blowing and birds singing. No money in any of those things. Our country youth/future are leaving in droves due to lack of commercial investors. No matter what your philosophy, most certainly has to be heart-wrenching to older generations of our vital farming areas. Goodbye, we have no jobs for you.

Taking a Kansas Journey Tuesday. Will hit numerous small towns, lingering a while. Spending a few Kansas bucks in businesses craving more bucks. Owners long ago giving up on promises of increased tourism dollars. Without doubt on my trip, will not hear from any business owner tell me, "nope keep Kansas a secret, don't need anymore customers."

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