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Governor Launches Kansas River Development Committee

Press Release

Location: Topeka, KS

Governor Sam Brownback today announced the formation of the Kansas River Development Committee at an afternoon news conference at Kaw River State Park in Topeka.

The committee was launched to recommend ways to spur recreational use of the Kansas River and develop tourism and economic growth along the river. The committee's work will build on the July 2012 designation of the Kansas River as a National Water Trail by U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. The river is also called the Kaw.

"The Kaw is a tremendous asset for Kansas," Governor Brownback noted. "The designation of the river as a National Water Trail brings national attention to our state and will help steer Kansas residents and visitors to the region. We deeply appreciate our partnership with the National Park Service and their help with moving this effort forward."

According to Robin Jennison, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), enabling people to access the river requires the partnership of cities and counties where ramps are located. "There are 18 river ramps located in 15 communities along the river, and another ramp is nearly completed at Belvue. We would like to add at least two more ramps between Belvue and Topeka," he said. "Without the involvement of local governments, landowners and other stakeholders, these ramps would not have been possible and access to the river would be seriously hampered."

Current members of the committee include:

Abby Amick -- Economic Development Director for Wabaunsee County

Laura Calwell -- Kansas Riverkeeper, Friends of the Kaw

Robert L. Cole -- Director, Pottawatomie County Economic Development Corporation

Beth Fager -- Campaign Director, Great Overland Station Museum

Connie Hall -- Executive Director, Geary County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Charmion Harris -- Owner, Lake Adventures, Milford

Karen Hibbard -- Vice President, Manhattan Convention and Visitors Bureau

Bridgette Jobe -- Executive Director, Kansas City Kansas Convention & Visitors Bureau, Inc.

Eric Laws -- President, Kansas Canoe and Kayak Association (KCKA)

Brian Leaders -- Landscape Architect, National Park Service

Corey Mohn -- Director of Statewide Programs, NetWork Kansas

Shalyn Murphy -- Communications and Marketing Director, Visit Topeka

Greg Panichello -- Kansas Small Business Development Center, Fort Hays State University

Christina Phelps -- Visit Lawrence

Sara R. Ritter -- Executive Director, De Soto Chamber of Commerce

Julie Roller -- Development Associate, Pottawatomie County Economic Development Corporation,

Sue Stringer -- Kansas Byways and Agritourism manager, KDWPT

Roger Wolfe -- Committee Chair, Northeast Kansas Wildlife Supervisor, KDWPT


The Kansas River (the Kaw) begins at the confluence of the Republican and Smoky Hill Rivers near Junction City and flows 173 miles to Kansas City where it joins the Missouri River.

It is considered to be one of the longest prairie rivers in the world.

Its watershed drains almost the entire northern half of Kansas and parts of Nebraska and Colorado (53,000 square miles).

It was designated as a National Water Trail by U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on July 14, 2012… the second river to be added to the National Water Trail system.

Major cities along the river include Junction City, Manhattan, Topeka, Lawrence and Kansas City.

There are 18 access points along the river at 15 communities. A 19th ramp is soon to be completed at Belvue. We'd like to locate two more between Belvue and Topeka.

River travelers can enjoy canoeing and kayaking, camping on sandbars, fishing, wildlife watching, or they can just take a lazy float trip and soak up the sun and the beautiful scenery.

For a short video about the Kansas River National Water Trail, click here or go to then click on KDWPT Info/Locations/Rivers and Streams Access.

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