Fort Leavenworth has several miles of multi-use trails available to nature enthusiasts, hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders, and another mile of trail was just added to that system.
In December, the Directorate of Public Works reestablished an overgrown trail along the floodplain trail near the Missouri River by Sherman Army Airfield. Neil Bass, Directorate of Public Works natural resources specialist, said the trail previously traced the length of the river bend, but flooding in the early 1990s changed the landscape.
“Historically, there were even more trails,” Bass said. “This is where the work was just done recently and the idea is that eventually we might restore this entire area.”
Bass said DPW routed the trail with the help of contractors using existing funding. Bass said he directed the contractors to stay relatively close to the old path by recognizing newer vegetation on the landscape, which is also easier to remove. Contractors used bulldozers to establish the mile-long trail with a width of 15 to 20 feet — wide enough to allow access for emergency vehicles, if necessary.
“What’s really unique about being able to get out there on those trails is, on the floodplain in particular, is the largest contiguous forest left on the Missouri River. There are old-growth trees out there, which are rare,” Bass said.
Bass said the wildlife found in the floodplain, including bald eagles and southern flying squirrels, can be interesting to see for people using the trails. He said hunters often prefer the floodplain over other locations because the area is relatively undisturbed and more remote.
The multi-use trails by Sherman Army Airfield are currently inaccessible while con-struction on the levee is being done, but other trails on post are available for use.