TOPEKA, Kan. — The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism announced Wednesday that a portion of the Arkansas River in Kansas has been designated a National Water Trail by the National Park Service. It’s an honor shared by the Kansas River — the first such trail named in the state.
The Arkansas River National Water Trail is 192 miles long, begins in Great Bend and ends at the Kansas-Oklahoma border southeast of Arkansas City.
It runs through widely varied prairie and woodland habitats and passes a number of cities along its course, including Hutchinson.
Most streams and rivers in Kansas are privately owned, but the Arkansas River, Kansas River and the Missouri River are “navigable waters,” and are open to the public between the ordinary high water marks on each bank.
When these rivers flow through private land, permission is needed from adjacent landowners to access the rivers. Currently, 22 access points have been developed along the Arkansas River in partnership with cities, counties and private landowners, providing access for recreational paddling, fishing and wildlife viewing opportunities.