Prairie Creek Greenway, a 3.8 mile, 10' wide asphalt trail for pedestrians and bicyclists, meanders through Platte County’s 120-acre greenway south of Platte City.
Prairie Creek is a major Platte County watershed. The creek and several of its tributaries meander through the County’s 120 acre greenway south of Platte City. Previous to Platte County ownership, the greenway property was farmland. The majority of the greenway is within the 100-year floodplain of Prairie Creek.
The trail leads users through some of the most unique, natural beauty of Platte County. Scenic views along the trail include several creek crossings, a rock waterfall, wildlife, limestone outcroppings, native forest vegetation, an abandoned oxbow, and an historic farm operation. This relative sanctuary is tucked away to be forever preserved from the surrounding, bustling residential development.
Shared uses and diversity of the trail corridor fit a variety of area needs including wildlife protection, recreation, stormwater and water quality coordination, and transportation. The greenway provides a preserve for wildlife protection and viewing as well as other passive recreation opportunities. Stormwater studies for the watershed were used for the trail design. The County also continues to review and implement new plans to protect Prairie Creek from the adverse effects of stormwater runoff.
In the near future trail connections will be made to the Platte County Community Center North, local schools, retail areas, a city park and several regional and community trails. The Prairie Creek Greenway will one day be a part of an interconnected regional trail system. As part of the Northland Trails Vision Plan (NTVP) this trail will ultimately connect to Tiffany Springs Park (a major, regional park) and other NTVP priority trail routes.
A diverse number of partners have been and will continue to be used to construct future phases of the trail. Great cooperation is exhibited by the local development community’s commitment to dedicate land to the County and build phases of the trail. Over half of the existing trail was built and paid for by local developers. Other partners who have assisted with trail construction and amenities are the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the Missouri Department of Conservation, and local contractors. The County currently uses cost-effective strategies to manage the greenway and trail.
One, part-time employee oversees the trail and provides daily maintenance. Mowing of greenway areas is minimized by using haying operations in the meadows. Within a year, the hay areas will be converted to prairie. This conversion will further decrease management costs while providing numerous opportunities for environmental protection and education.
Prairie Creek Greenway is a protected environment that helps stabilize Prairie Creek and its tributaries, provides habitat for wildlife and contact with nature for trail users, and encourages positive economic impact through community and regional connections. Prairie Creek Greenway offers recreational opportunities and transportation for a broad population in a cost-effective manner. Above all, Prairie Creek Greenway is a beautiful, peaceful place to exercise and enjoy nature.
Prairie Creek Greenway NRT continues to grow as developers around the area assist with building trail sections. Developers recognize that connectivity to the NRT is a key amenity and are using it as a marketing component for new home sales. Local residents are embracing the trail through regular visits and volunteer projects. Six Eagle Scout projects and many other volunteers have contributed several hundred hours to landscaping and constructing trail amenities.
The reputation of Prairie Creek Greenway NRT will also grow when world class cyclists vying for the Tour of Missouri title ride by the greenway during Stage 1 of the race. The County is excited to host a race watching location and will be using this opportunity to commemorate the NRT designation of the trail!
Further, Platte County staff has been busy this year “growing green” at Prairie Creek Greenway NRT. Through the help of a grant from the USDA/NRCS, the County has planted 3,500 tree and shrub seedlings and 29 acres of prairie (to replace non-native hay fields). The already stunning beauty and peace of the Greenway will be enhanced by these improvements. Highlights for a trail user include meandering past a natural rock waterfall and over four Prairie Creek bridges through restored prairie and riparian areas. This breathtaking beauty will be accompanied by the “green” benefits of reduced maintenance and increased sustainability and wildlife habitat. These additions also make a great outdoor classroom for trail users.