The first few miles of the Central Kansas Conservancy Meadowlark Trail are now officially open to the public.

The first few miles of the Central Kansas Conservancy Meadowlark Trail are now officially open to the public.

The McPherson Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the first four miles of the trail, which stretches 12.6 miles between McPherson and Lindsborg.

Ardie Streit, leader of the McPherson Friends of the Trail, said the first two miles out of McPherson are completed, and the third and fourth mile are still receiving the final touches. She said both the third and fourth mile are still passable and open to the public.

Streit thanked both those who volunteered and those who donated, saying work on the trail would not have begun without support.

"This event is a long time coming," she said. "It was built by volunteers, and we welcome more to come and join in the volunteer effort."

Michelle Cullen, director of the Central Kansas Conservancy, the organization behind the trail's establishment, thanked conservancy board members, and said work will continue until all 12 miles are finished.

Cullen encouraged the public to walk along the completed trail and experience nature within the county.

She said pets are welcome as long as pet owners clean up after themselves.

One of the more popular activities along the trail, she said, is geocaching.

Geocaching is a modern treasure-hunting game, and involves using a GPS or mobile device to hide and seek containers anywhere in the world. Participants who find the caches can take out and leave various items in the container.

Streit said four to five geocaches are hidden along the trail, including one near the trail head, located just west of the intersection of Old Highway 81 bypass and Moccasin Road.

Both city and county commissioners attended the ribbon cutting ceremony. Linus Linaweaver, county commissioner, extended his congratulations to those who worked on the trail.

"The quality of work is really amazing on this trail," he said.

McPherson Mayor Tom Brown also extended his congratulations to the trail members and the Central Kansas Conservancy for their perseverance in completing the trail.

"This is another project that demonstrates if you persevere, you can get there," he said.

Joseph Tuszynski can be reached at, or follow him on Twitter @JoeTSentinel