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Public meeting to discuss Mined Land Area improvements

Upcoming projects necessary for public safety will also enhance access and habitat

 

A public information meeting to discuss improvements planned at several Mined Land Wildlife Area units will be conducted on Wednesday, Nov. 12 at the Southeast High School Auditorium, 126 W 400, Cherokee. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m., and Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) staff will provide an overview of upcoming reclamation projects designed to address safety hazards on the area.

The Surface Mining Section of KDHE has several reclamation projects planned that will address numerous safety hazards while minimizing impacts to existing vegetation, wildlife and aquatic habitats. In the process, improvements such as alignment, grade, sight of travel and surface course will be made to interior roadways. Popular fishing areas will be improved by raising water levels, increasing shoreline foot access, and enhancing fish habitat by adding large boulders to the ends of strip mine lakes.

According to David Jenkins, KDWPT wildlife area manager, “The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and the Surface Mining Section of KDHE have worked together to design an end product that will improve vehicle safety, increase shoreline access and improve wildlife habitat. The improvements will greatly decrease future maintenance costs, improve the long-term stability of roads and improve habitat diversity.”

The 14,500-acre Mined Land Wildlife Area is a product of coal surface mining and is a public wildlife area like no other in the state. The distinctive topographical features, numerous strip-mine lakes and abundant wildlife make the Mined Land Wildlife Area a favorite destination for many anglers, campers, hunters, trappers and other outdoor enthusiasts.

Although the roads dissecting these rugged properties are needed to access many of the more remote fishing areas, many of the interior roads were not constructed with safety or long-term use in mind, posing significant safety hazards and maintenance problems.

Construction will begin this spring on one of the three upcoming safety reclamations.  The first project will affect units No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 and is called the “Lee Hurt Road Project.”  This area is located near the intersection of 570 and 260 avenues east of Pittsburg, a few miles along the Kansas and Missouri state line in CrawfordCounty.

The second project to undergo construction will take place on Unit No. 11 and is called the “Southwest Scammon Project.” Once this project has been completed, the unit, which has been closed for two years, will be re-opened to fishing. The closure has allowed the game fish to grow in size and numbers, and a fish feeder has been maintained throughout the closed period to enhance the fishery. This opener should provide some excellent angling opportunities. Unit No. 11 is located on NW Coalfield Road, one-half mile west of NW Coalfield Road and 7 Hwy in Cherokee County.

The third reclamation project will occur on units No. 20, No. 22 and No. 23 and is called the “Belleview Road Project.” This project is located near the intersection of NW 80 and NW Belleview Road in CherokeeCounty, south and west of the field office, which is located on Belleview Road. Most of the Belleview Road project will consist of road widening and a few minor end-fills on strip mine lakes. Temporary closing may occur to allow projects to be completed.  Signs will be posted on the boundaries to make constituents aware of the closures.

For more information, call David Jenkins at the Mined Land Wildlife Area office, (620) 231-3173.