Bethel College to celebrate the Sand Creek Trail


originally published by Bethel College

The annual Walk Sand Creek Trail Day, on Saturday, June 3, gives special recognition to Bethel College’s popular walking trail, which this year turns 25 as a managed trail.

The event is part of National Trails Day®, sponsored annually by American Hiking Society (AHS) on the first Saturday in June.

Also on June 3 is the Kauffman Museum-sponsored first-Saturday bird walk that includes part of the trail.

Members of the Sand Creek Trail Committee will be at the Memorial Grove trailhead from dawn until dusk (6 a.m.-8 p.m.) on June 3 with water available for walkers and leashed dogs. They will also share trail history and answer questions for anyone interested.

The committee maintains and improves the trail, and organizes volunteer work days throughout the year.

Thanks largely to the efforts of the late Jake Goering of North Newton and then-Bethel director of development Larry Voth, Sand Creek Trail was formalized in 1998, and a committee formed.

Sand Creek Trail was designated a National Recreation Trail in 2011, and the SCT Committee has held Walk Sand Creek Trail Day every June since then. This year is the 31st National Trails Day®.

Learn more at, including the National Trails Day® pledge and photo contest.

Anyone interested in the bird walk should meet in the Kauffman Museum parking lot (2801 N. Main in North Newton) at 7 a.m. on June 3.

Experienced birders will lead a walk of approximately a mile-and-a-half through Chisholm Park and on Sand Creek Trail, finishing at or near the trailhead in Memorial Grove.

Only part of the route is paved (the rest is wood-chip) and there are some steep or sloping sections.

Binoculars are recommended but not required. This is a family-friendly activity although children under 12 should be accompanied by an adult, and it may not be ideal for very young children, since noise and running will scare the birds.

American Hiking Society’s annual National Trails Day® honors the trail systems in the United States and Canada, and its supporters and volunteers, and is meant to encourage people to get outside and experience their local trails.

By coordinating a wide array of trail activities on a single day, National Trails Day® attracts new trail users and helps connect existing trail enthusiasts with local clubs and organizations with the hopes of creating trail advocates and stewards.

Protecting and maintaining more than 200,000 miles of trails in the United States requires the collaboration of trail clubs, organizations, government agencies, and most importantly passionate trail advocates and stewards.

Founded in 1976, American Hiking Society is the only national, recreation-based nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and protecting America’s hiking trails, their surrounding natural areas and the hiking experience.

To learn more about AHS and its mission and programs, visit

For more about Sand Creek Trail, see

Bethel is a four-year liberal arts college founded in 1887 and is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Known for academic excellence, Bethel ranks at #14 in the Washington Monthly list of “Best Bachelor’s Colleges,” and #24 in the U.S. News & World Report rankings of “Best Regional Colleges Midwest,” both for 2022-23. Bethel is the only Kansas college or university to be named a Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) Campus Center. For more information, see

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