As Recommended by House Committee on
Agriculture and Natural Resources

HB 2331 would designate the Lehigh Portland Trails in
Allen County as Lehigh Portland State Park.

The bill was introduced by the House Committee on
Agriculture and Natural Resources at the request of
Representative Gardner on behalf of the Kansas Department
of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP).

House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources
In the House Committee hearing, proponent testimony
was provided by the Director of the Parks Division, KDWP;
President and CEO of Thrive Allen County; representatives of
the City of Iola, Healthy Bourbon County Action Team, and
Iola Industries, Inc.; the steward of Lehigh Portland Trails and
Director of Trails for Thrive Allen County; and five members of
the public, including a 10-year-old resident of Iola and a
senior at Iola High School.
The proponents stated the Lehigh Portland Trails are
built on the site of a former cement plant and quarry, along
the banks of Elm Creek in Iola. The trails consist of over 2.5
miles of wide gravel trails and over 12 miles of natural-
*Supplemental notes are prepared by the Legislative Research
Department and do not express legislative intent. The supplemental
note and fiscal note for this bill may be accessed on the Internet at
surface trails for mountain biking, trail running, and nature
hikes. The former quarry is now a 138-acre lake surrounded
by riparian woodlands and meadows mixed with native
Written-only proponent testimony was provided by
representatives of A Bolder Humboldt, Allen Community
College, Allen County Regional Hospital, Anderson County
Development Agency, Blue River Rail Trail, City of Emporia
Multi-use Path Planning Board, City of Humboldt, Community
Health Center of Southeast Kansas, Community National
Bank and Trust, Health Forward Foundation, Humanity House
Foundation, Kansas Recreation and Park Association,
Kansas Sampler Foundation, Kansas Trails Council,
Montgomery County Action Council, Prairie Travelers, Inc.,
Pratt Health Foundation, Southeast Kansas Regional
Planning Commission, Sunflower Foundation, Sunflower Rail-
Trails Conservancy, The Iola Register, Inc., The Nature
Conservancy, United Methodist Health Ministry Fund, and
USD 257 (Iola), and 65 members of the public.
No other testimony was provided.
The House Committee recommended the bill be passed
on February 21, 2023, but the bill was withdrawn from the
House Calendar and referred to the House Committee on
Appropriations on February 23, 2023. The bill was then
withdrawn from the House Committee on Appropriations and
rereferred to the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural
Resources on March 1, 2023.
The House Committee again recommended the bill be
passed on March 13, 2023, after holding an informational
hearing on the bill, which included testimony from the
Secretary of Wildlife and Parks and representatives of KDWP,
Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and Thrive
Allen County. The House Committee also heard testimony
from three members of the public who expressed their
concerns about the potential state park.

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Fiscal Note
According to the fiscal note prepared by the Division of
the Budget on the bill, the KDWP states that it would require
$50,000 from its Parks Fee Fund in FY 2024 for costs
associated with title work, surveying the 14 parcels of the
Lehigh Portland property, performing a Phase I
Environmental Site Assessment, and closing costs.
In FY 2025 through FY 2027, $200,000 would be spent
for developing a master plan to determine which services
should be included at the park. The design and building
construction would cost approximately $5.0 million to $7.0
The agency would also need to hire 2.0 FTE positions at
a cost of $129,600 that would be paid 80.0 percent from
federal funds and 20.0 percent from the agency’s Parks Fee
The agency has requested the entire project amount
from the Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas
Economic Development Grant, but has not received
verification of approval for the funds. If the proposal is
approved, then these funds would pay for the entire project,
including the $50,000 paid initially from the Parks Fee Fund.
Any fiscal effect associated with enactment of the bill is
not reflected in The FY 2024 Governor’s Budget Report.
Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks; state parks; Lehigh Portland State Park;
Allen County

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Statutes affected:
As introduced: 32-837, 58-3212