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Discussions underway to make Flint Hills Nature Trail a state park

Mayors along the Flint Hills Nature Trail north of Emporia are excited about the prospect of the trail becoming a state park.
 
Bushong Mayor Gary Smith says having a state park in town would be a great thing.
 
 
 
Admire Mayor Mike Spade agrees. He tells KVOE News "more travel through a small town can never hurt."
 
 
 
 
 
Recently, Council Grove Mayor Debi Schwerdtfeger told the Wichita Eagle and Kansas City Star the trail will be more visible to people as a state park, although it's already a vital part of her community.
 
The Flint Hills Trail currently crosses parts of five counties, including Lyon, Morris and Osage, passing through Allen, Admire, Bushong, Council Grove and Osage City in the KVOE listening area. The trail was first a discontinued line from the Missouri Pacific Railroad before the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy bought it in 1995. It is now popular for walking tours, cycling events, geocaching and other activities. 
 
The trail and the Little Jerusalem limestone formation in western Kansas are part of Senate Bill 331, which moved out of a Senate committee last week and needs approval from both the Senate and House to turn those areas into state parks.