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Flint Hills, native stone featured in new scenic byway

October 3, 2005(05-207)


Contact:  Steve Swartz or Kim Stich (785) 296-3585

Flint Hills, native stone featured in new scenic byway

The beauty of the Flint Hills and a variety of structures constructed from its native limestone are among the attractions of the state’s newest scenic byway – the Native Stone Scenic Byway.

The new byway, which received the designation from Kansas Department of Transportation Secretary Deb Miller, traverses parts of western Shawnee County and Wabaunsee County along K-4 and K-99. The 48-mile route passes through Alma, Eskridge, Keene and Dover, offering visitors a glimpse of rural Kansas life. The winding byway, which cuts through the rolling terrain of the eastern Flint Hills, also provides visitors a chance to view walls, bridges and buildings constructed of native limestone.

“The Flint Hills region is one of the most beautiful and distinct natural attractions Kansas has,” said Miller. “The state designation will create greater awareness of this area for visitors and spur an interest in the communities along the route. It is another way we can promote tourism in an area abundant with natural and cultural importance.”

Governor Kathleen Sebelius praised the designation of the route as a state scenic byway.

“This is such a beautiful area that deserves the scenic byway distinction,” said Governor Sebelius. “I encourage Kansans who have not had the opportunity, to pull out your maps, take a drive and enjoy the scenery.”

The state designation will result in the placement of route markers along the byway, creation of a promotional brochure and a page on the www.ksbyways.org. It will also be placed on the national www.byways.org Web site. The byway will be eligible for National Scenic Byway grants to enhance the route for visitors.

Members of the Native Stone Scenic Byway Committee who worked on the application include Richard Bell (Dover Community Foundation), chair; Marita Elliott (Lake Wabaunsee Improvement District); Freda Lohse (Dover Post Office); Ron Schultz (Alma First National Bank); Ervan Stuewe (Alma Chamber of Commerce); and Sandy Williams (Flint Hills Coalition). Debra Stufflebean, former owner of the 1878 Sage Inn & Stagecoach Station at Dover, assisted the committee in formulating the corridor management plan for the byway.

The Native Stone Scenic Byway is the eighth route to receive the state designation. The Kansas Scenic Byways program identifies scenic routes in the state and, through a cooperative grassroots partnership, preserves, enhances and promotes the routes.

Two of the state byways – the Flint Hills Scenic Byway in Butler, Chase and Morris counties, and the Wetlands and Wildlife Scenic Byway in Barton, Reno and Stafford counties, recently became the first Kansas routes to receive National Scenic Byway designation.