Northwest Topeka property offers trails, fishing, day-use potential
TOPEKA -- It is official. The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks started 2006 off by assuming ownership of a donated 76-acre tract of land that will become the state’s 24th state park. A development group -- 21st Century Ad Astra, L.L.C. -- donated the property to the KDWP. The donation has been pending for a couple of years, and the 2004 Kansas Legislature designated the future park as State Park 24, until a permanent name is agreed upon.

Governor Kathleen Sebelius said, “What a great opportunity for Kansans to enjoy such a beautiful park, today and for generations to come.”

The land is part of the former Menninger Clinic grounds. The Clinic moved to Houston, Texas in 2003. The donated land consists of 76 acres along the Kansas River in northwest Topeka. Most of the future park property is forested and rich in wildlife.

The property has existing trails, which are accessible only through Maclennan Park, which surrounds the Governor’s mansion. The plan is to improve the trail system with volunteer labor to offer hiking and biking trails to suit all levels of users. Eventually, KDWP would like to have a trail system that connects from Maclennan Park to the Kansas History Center.

The new state park may also include a boat ramp to allow access to the Kansas River. Renovation of an existing pond on the property will provide environmental education and children’s fishing opportunities.

The current KDWP Region 2 office building located adjacent to the donated property will serve as the park office and trail head. The intent is for the future park to be day-use only.