Kansas River is public, but most adjoining land is not

Four new access points with boat ramps have been added to the Kansas River, one of three public rivers in Kansas (in addition to the Arkansas and the Missouri), according to the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP). While the Kansas River is open to the public for fishing and boating, permission must be obtained to cross private ground to gain access to the river. Therefore, access points are usually on public land or on private land opened to the public through programs such as KDWP's Fishing Impoundments and Stream Habitats (FISH) program.
These new access points are not part of the FISH program, but KDWP built the Perry/Lecompton site and has provided some technical assistance, as well as $10,000 grants to sites in De Soto and Edwardsville and a $40,000 grant for a site in Manhattan. The Manhattan site is owned by Riley County, while the other sites are municipally-owned. Most of the technical assistance on these sites has been provided by the Friends of the Kaw, a nonprofit group dedicated to the river.

Locations of new access ramps to the Kansas River include the following:

  • Rising Sun (Perry/Lecompton) Access on the northwest side of the Lecompton Bridge over the Kansas River on Lecompton Road south of U.S. Highway 24. (This site is actually one year old.);
  • De Soto Access located northwest of downtown De Soto. Take the Lexington Avenue exit from K-10 and go north. Turn north on Ottawa Street. Go over two railroad tracks to the city park entrance two blocks on the right. (At this time access is locked because of additional construction. Phone Friends of the Kaw, 866-RIV-KEEP, for more information.);
  • Edwardsville Access located southwest of the corner of Woodend Road and 9th St. in Edwardsville. Take the Woodend Road exit from I-435 north of the Kansas River and go west several miles to the access park; and
  • Manhattan Access located under the Highway 177 Bridge on the southeast edge of Manhattan.

For more information on Kansas River access points, a map may be found on the Friends of the Kaw website.