By David Markham
If you overdo it (again) over Thanksgiving and want to walk, run, or bike off some of the “festivities,” JCPRD has some great places for you to exercise or just get outside. We even have four off-leash dog areas if you’d like to take your canine companion along.
According to research from Consumer Reports, the average American will take in between 3,000 and 4,500 calories during a typical holiday meal. The Calorie Control Council notes this often also includes more than 150 grams of fat.
Fortunately, JCPRD has 17 developed parks encompassing more than 10,000 acres, not to mention more than 112 miles of trails, including both paved multi-purpose trails and unpaved single-track trails.
JCPRD parks great for walking and biking include the Mill Creek Streamway Park, Heritage Park, Antioch Park, Meadowbrook Park, Lexington Lake Park, and of course Shawnee Mission Park.
JCPRD’s four dog off-leash areas mentioned above are located in Shawnee Mission, Heritage, Thomas S. Stoll Memorial, and Kill Creek Streamway parks.
For other options, consider two of JCPRD’s newest parks; Cedar Niles Park in Olathe and Arthur and Betty Verhaeghe Park in Overland Park.
Although some portions of the park were open for public use earlier, an official ribbon cutting for the first phase of development of Cedar Niles Park took place in April 2022. The new park features 4-miles of paved trail, 4.4-miles of single-track hiking and mountain bike trail, three access points with water fountains, and a playground, medium shelter, and restrooms at the 135th Street access point. Other access points are located at 127th and Clare Road, and 119th Street west of Kansas 7 Highway.
Arthur and Betty Verhaeghe Park opened in late 2020 and features an 11-acre developed area with a farm-themed playground and picnic shelter, and serves as an access point for the Coffee Creek Streamway Park, which currently stretches 3.4 miles with a western terminus near shelters #9 and #10 in Heritage Park.
Also in 2020, JCPRD expanded the southern portion of the Kill Creek Streamway Park Trail by nearly two miles, adding a portion between 135th and 143rd streets. It’s not a walking trail, but if it’s exercise you’re after, walking up the stairs to the top deck (44 feet 7 inches) of the Russell and Helen Means Observation Tower in Kill Creek Park could do the trick, and gives you 270 degree views from the top as well (there’s also an elevator to the top if you’d prefer).
Speaking of Heritage Park, the fitness park near shelter #1 features gym-quality fitness equipment in an outdoor setting for use free of charge anytime the park is open. The fitness park is made up of weather-resistant equipment meant to work a variety of muscle groups. More outdoor fitness equipment can be found in the Outdoor Fitness Area near Shelter #2 in Meadowbrook Park.