Barton County and the Byway Steering Committee have established aWetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway Fund at the Golden Belt Community Foundation.
This new fund supports the Byway Committee’s efforts to promote public awareness and enjoyment of the byway, which connects Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge.
In 2009 Barton County contracted with North Star to develop a Marketing Plan for the Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway. During North Star’s analysis and research, it was discovered that other byways across the country have been successful in partnering with a foundation to market and sustain the byway.
The committee chose to partner with the Golden Belt Community Foundation to establish a fund for the byway because it offers an effective way for the community to contribute. Anyone may contribute to this fund in any amount and donations may be in the form of cash, appreciated stock, real estate or other appreciated assets. The fund serves as a vehicle for donations that will then be reinvested in valuable educational programs, special events, projects, and activities that promote the mission of the Byway.
“The Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway Fund was an important and necessary step to continue and build upon our work in promoting the Byway,” said Janet Crane, Project Coordinator, Barton County. “Gifts made to this fund will support the marketing and enhancement of the Byway.”
“The Golden Belt Community Foundation, being a regional foundation, is well positioned to work with the surrounding communities and individuals who are interested in further promoting the Byway,” said Christy Tustin, executive director. “This dedicated group of forward-thinking volunteers is taking action today to ensure future resources are in place to benefit a significant, local resource.”
The Byway Steering Committee is comprised of volunteers from the area:
Janet Crane, Project Coordinator, Barton County
Cris Collier, Byway Marketing, Great Bend Convention & Visitors Bureau
Clayton Grimmett, Stafford, Stafford County Commissioner
JD Hager, St. John, Stafford County Commissioner
Marilyn Hitz, Hudson
Paul Tschopp, Ellinwood
Gene Manweiler, Hoisington
Becky Weller, Great Bend
BJ Wooding, Cartographer, Barton County
Karl Grover, Cheyenne Bottoms
Barry Jones and Dan Severson, Quivira Wildlife Refuge
Rob Penner, The Nature Conservancy
Clark Rusco – Barton County Engineer, Ex-Officio
The 77-mile Byway connects two of the world’s most significant natural wetlands – Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. More than 60,000 acres of wetlands host millions of migrating birds each year, including waterfowl, shorebirds, and even Whooping Cranes. This region has been named one of the Eight Wonders of Kansas. Along with beautiful wetlands and birds, the Byway offers the opportunity to see other local attractions such as native stone buildings, underground tunnels, metal street art, WPA art and bridges, an operating flour mill, and a stretch of the Santa Fe Trail.
The Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway traverses Barton, Reno, and Stafford counties, connecting the communities of Claflin, Ellinwood, Great Bend, Hoisington, Hudson, St. John, and Stafford. Partners in promoting the Byway include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, U.S. Department of Transportation, Kansas Department of Transportation, and The Nature Conservancy.
Anyone interested in making a gift to the Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway Fund should contact the Golden Belt Community Foundation at (620) 792-3000.