MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas River received national recognition Saturday morning.
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar joined Governor Sam Brownback and local leaders at the Flint Hills Discovery Center in Manhattan to designate the Kansas River Water Trail as a national water trail.
Officials say the designation will boost tourism and preservation efforts.
"You think about the 174 miles of the Kansas River and the water trail, it's about hunting and those people who love to hunt and bring so much to the economy of Kansas," Salazar told the crowd. "It's about those who love to fish, among our 40 million anglers in the U.S. [...] It's about the kayakers," he said. "Because combined, what they all do across this nation is that they create somewhere 9 in the neighborhood of nine million jobs to power our econonmy," he said.
"This is a magnet," he said."It'll bring people here. So by designating it a national trail, what it'll mean is it'll get the publicity," Salazar said, adding that he was proud to do it in the Flint Hills.
"This dedication is just fabulous. I mean it brings national attention to the recreational value of the Kansas River, which is something Friends of the Kaw has been working on for about 14 years," Laura Callwell said. Callwell holds the title of Kansas Riverkeeper for Friends of the Kaw.
Friends of the Kaw built access ramps along the river over the years and are now hoping to add signage directing visitors as well, Calwell said.
The Kansas River Water Trail is now one of 10 national water trails.