Arkansas River Access Sites
Wildscape continues to work towards creating new access sites along the Arkansas River, primarily between Wichita and the Oklahoma border.
But it ain't easy.
First, we identify the river stretches that are in the highest need of an access site. Then we start knocking on landowners' doors to see if they have any interest in our project. Sometimes it's hard to even contact the landowners, much less convince them that this is a great project that needs help. The NIMBY effect (Not In My Back Yard) is strong in this area.
Once we have a landowner prospect, we then have to evaluate the property to make sure it's suitable for our needs. Depending on the proximity to the river's various bends and flows, sometimes a property doesn't work well for access. And then there are the existing easements to consider. And the highway traffic and KDOT's neverending pages of regulations and guidelines. But every now and then, we find a perfect spot.
Working with KDWPT, we have identified a property near Ark City that may not only work as a river access site, but may also serve as a new location for people to hike, bike, fish, birdwatch, picnic and enjoy the outdoors in general. Once we've reached an agreement with the landowner, that's when the real work starts as we'll begin planning out various details of the site to be built - including the parking lot, boat ramp, hiking/biking trails, dock for fishing access, road construction and a plan for ongoing maintenance and supervision of the property.
Once the overall plan is in place, we'll start a fundraising drive to help pay for the various expenses. Some of the work to be done may come in the form of in-kind donations from local contractors or municipalities, and other aspects of the project will be funded through private donations from individuals share our vision for better river access on the Arkansas River. Right now, we're hoping to be able to break ground early this spring, and have the site open and operational within a year.
In addition to plans near Ark City, our existing access site near Belle Plaine continues to get high usage and support from the area! We are also looking at developing a site just south of Mulvane, which would provide another nice float distance to Belle Plaine and Ark City.
If you would like to receive updates on this project, or if you'd like to contribute in any way, shape or form, please don't hesitate to contact our office. We need all the help we can get!