Kansas Rocks Recreation Park, located near Mapleton, held a ceremony Saturday morning for the grand opening and ribbon-cutting event for its recent addition of 160 acres of land to the park.
For the past 14 years, the park has provided 220 acres of terrain for visitors interesting in hiking, cycling, or driving jeeps or dirt bikes on the numerous trails of varying difficulties. Over recent months, additional trails have been created in the new, southeast quadrant of the land recently purchased from a family that had lived there for three generations.
“This is quite a celebration for us,” President David Killion said, adding they are still negotiating for even more property.
Killion said they selected the Bourbon County location 14 years ago because of a need for such a park near the Kansas City area, as others are three to four hours away. With the area selected, Killion said they were able to use grants from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks to get the park started.
Now, Killion said the park is self-sustaining through the daily fees, while grants and donations are used for larger projects, such as the recent addition of electricity donated by Westar and Heartland Rural Electric. Currently, they are in the process of adding water for camping spots.
“The rock park is a huge asset to Bourbon County,” Fort Scott Mayor Jolynne Mitchell said, adding the park sponsors numerous events throughout the year.
Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce board president Deb Needleman and Executive Director Lindsay Madison both expressed appreciation for Kansas Rocks’ membership and said they hope to continue to support the park in its endeavor to bring visitors to the region.
“It’s a great benefit to Bourbon County,” county commissioner Lynne Oharah said, adding he is grateful for the family-oriented atmosphere.