Partners with the Prairie Corridor on Haines Branch project today dedicated the Stiefel/Johnson Trailhead at 5217 SW 84th Street. The trailhead is the first of several new parking areas that will provide access to the future trail along the Prairie Corridor, a 10-mile-long tallgrass prairie passage and trail that will connect the Pioneers Park Nature Center with Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center south of Denton.
The new trailhead between W. Pioneers Blvd and W. Old Cheney Road is positioned at a key location downstream from Conestoga Lake State Recreation Center, where Holmes Creek drains into the Haines Branch stream. It will accommodate horses in anticipation of a future equestrian trail that will parallel the Corridor's pedestrian and bicycle trail.
Tim and Judy Stiefel donated the 13-acre parcel to the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District (LPSNRD) for the project. It is named for the Stiefels and in memory of their long-time friend, the late Lucile Johnson, who previously owned the land.
Larry Ruth, Chair of the LPSNRD Board of Directors, presented the Stiefels with a commemorative plaque, "as a symbol of our appreciation for your love of this land and for your generous donation of this property." He said the Trailhead "will be a key access point to invite people to get outside, be active and experience the prairie up close."
The Prairie Corridor Project is designed to build on Lincoln's trail system, promote ecotourism, support environmental education and preserve tallgrass prairie. The primary partners include the City, the LPSNRD, Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center and the Lincoln Parks Foundation. Development of the Prairie Corridor trail is in progress and will be implemented in phases as land and easements are acquired from interested property owners.
In this area, the project partners have assembled several parcels totaling 118 acres that include the Stiefel/Johnson Trailhead and two adjacent properties. These include a 100-acre grassland area to the east, which is under the stewardship of the City, and a five-acre parcel to the north transferred to the LPSNRD by the Lincoln Parks Foundation, which assisted in acquiring the property.
In the next couple of years, the partners anticipate the completion of a bridge and underpass below the railroad to connect to the 100-acre grassland to the east, called Two Creeks Prairie.
Project partners are working with landowners through a voluntary, incentive-based approach to conservation through the purchase of land or conservation easements, or by enhancing the prairie resources on their own.
The Prairie Corridor project is a collaborative effort among more than more than 30 public and private organizations, including the Nebraska Environmental Trust, Lancaster County, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Natural Resources, the Great Plains Trails Network, Wachiska Audubon and many others.
For more information on the project, including a full list of the project partners, visit PrairieCorridor.org or contact Nicole Fleck-Tooze, Lincoln Parks and Recreation, at email@example.com or 402-441-8263.