OPINION: Help us keep Konza’s public hiking trails open


Konza Prairie Biological Station is a native tallgrass prairie preserve owned by the Nature Conservancy and operated as a field research station by the K-State Division of Biology. The station’s three-fold mission includes long-term ecological research, education and prairie conservation.

Konza is not a public park. It is a privately owned biological research station. Therefore, most of the site is off-limits to the public. K-State and the Nature Conservancy believe, however, that it is important to provide a venue for the public to experience and learn about the endangered tallgrass prairie ecosystem, and Konza has a set aside a publicly-accessible hiking trail area that is open from dawn to dusk, weather and trail conditions permitting.

However, because the land is privately owned and operated as a research facility, there are rules for use of the hiking trails that are in place to preserve the research, landscape, wildlife and ecological value of the site. Continued public access to the hiking trails depends on everyone adhering to these rules. We have had several recent incidents where individuals ignored these rules. If these incidents continue, we may be forced to close or limit access to the nature trails.

Continued access to Konza depends on your cooperation by observing the following rules:

• Remain on designated trails at all times. Leaving the trails can impact ongoing research.
• Dogs, horses and other pets are not permitted on-site.
• Our trails are for hiking only. Bicycles, motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles are not permitted.
• Camping or overnight parking is prohibited.
• Collection or removal of flowers, rocks, artifacts or other materials from the area is prohibited.
• Smoking, or any open flame, is prohibited.
• Pack it in, pack it out. Disposal receptacles and picnic areas are not available on the trail.
• The trails and parking area are closed within one hour after sunset. Vehicles remaining after this time are subject to being towed at the vehicle owner’s expense.
• This area is patrolled by K-State Police.

• Contact K-State Police at 785-532-6412 or use the “Silent Witness” site (k-state.edu/police/silent/) to report any suspicious behavior or violations of site use rules.

We ask for everyone’s cooperation in following these rules so that the public can continue to enjoy Konza and learn more about the endangered ecosystem that is in your backyard!

John M. Briggs
Professor of biology
Director of Konza Prairie Biological Station
Kansas State University
Division of Biology 104 Ackert Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506