Why not shared trails?



We are worried about long term erosion and sustainability. According to national trail organizations, horses do four times the trail damage than a bicycle. This ratio of 1 horse to 1 bicycle doesn’t take into consideration that there are more bicycle riders at Air Cap than there are probably horse riders at PPP. Thus we do more trail damage just because of the high number of riders we see. But, we don’t ride when it is muddy and wet.

The current trails at Pawnee Prairie are a wreck. They ride the trail when it is wet. I have heard the Prairie Sunset trail is already damaged due to horse traffic after rainfall. Ruth and her group has put in 3 years of planning and building on the Prairie Sunset and some places are now difficult to ride by bicycle. There has been little to no attempt by the current users in PPP to maintain their trails. By this I do not mean trimming the bushes. I mean trail bed work.

We have put close to 750 trail hours into the 2 miles at Air Cap alone since it opened 3 years ago. Last year KSS performed over 800 hours of work on all our trails. The last trail work day had 3 individuals show to work at Santa Fe Lake. So as you can see, it is a challenge for us to keep our trails open and running. 

We do not think it is in the best interest of KSS to design, build, and maintain trails and then have horse traffic tear up the trail and their users not help in the work. IMBA has had similar issues. Nationally MTB users build the trail, horses tear it up, and the MTB users have to abandon the trail. Our agreement with the city is to provide our own insured workforce to keep Air Cap ride-able. The only way KSS would be interested in a trail at PPP is if it is separated from horse traffic. We simply do not have the workers, time, or money to maintain a trail for horses also.

This initiative is being driven by the neighborhood residents around the park and not by KSS. We simply represent our trail builders and we do not claim to represent the cycling community as a whole. Can bikes and horses use the same path? Absolutely. And in our opinion, that is probably what the city will decide to do.