Roanoke Park's volunteer naturalist Chris DeLong has combined data from the 2012 tree inventory with lots of on-the-ground scouting to produce a custom Google Map you can use to explore the park. The trail paths on this map are more accurate and complete than can be found anywhere else. Markers for the park’s largest trees and others have been added to the map with each containing ID and info in a popup. Links to Missouri Botanical Garden pages are included (but are only clickable on desktop browsers).
Click for a video explaining Roanoke Park Trees and TrailsEven in just the process of rolling out this map several corrections and discoveries have been made. The 2012 second place chinkapin oak is now the park champion, after the former champ apparently got hit by lightning. Yikes! (It looks like it is trying to survive, despite dead stripes down two sides.) The old champ is west of Karnes, and the new champ is by the paw paw patch above the brick road, right above the lower trail. Also it looks like we have a kind of Hickory tree we didn't know about. The champion "hickory" in 2012 appears to be a Shellbark Hickory, Carya laciniosa. That species is also called Kingnut, for having the largest of all hickory nuts. We'll try to beat the critters to some to help confirm the identification.
You could also add tree observations to iNaturalist if good ID pictures can be taken, adding to our Roanoke Park Biodiversity Project: inaturalist.org/projects/roanoke-park-biodiversity What are good ID pictures? More than one, clear and hopefully focussing on distinguising characteristics: the "key things" that separate a tree species from close relatives. If you don't know and are learning, take a variety! iNaturalist lets you upload four photos initially, but then you can keep hitting the + icon and adding more. Bark, leaves, flowers, fruit or seeds, twigs, winter buds - all can show useful ID characters.
A native serviceberry memorial tree was planted in the spring of 2018 by the parks department within view of the current location of Dance in the Park. Enjoy the blooms it has in spring and its elegance in all seasons, and give thanks for neighbors who add beauty and life to the park. A multi-trunked serviceberry was chosen for it's delicate features. Can a tree dance?
(2018's drought conditions haven't been kind to this new tree but we believe it will bounce back.)
Here's a memorial page from Bridging the Gap with more information about Judy.
Roanoke Park is an important historical Kansas City asset. Its value is greatest to its closest residents. Time and neglect have taken a toll on our neighborhood park. The wooded ravines have lost important trees and the rugged cliffs have become hidden by invasive plants. The park's beauty has become marred. Comparing old photos with more recent ones confirms that the park is not as enticing as it once was.Even when Kansas City was not in such dire financial straits, city resources for the park have been sparse. Many neighborhood parks are being recognized for their value as neighborhood assets and sanctuaries of peacefulness in urban areas. This trend is sweeping the nation and the globe as neighborhood groups join together to support local parks that have suffered from urban decay and government neglect.Our efforts on behalf of Roanoke Park are a public/private partnership initiative to honor the history and plant the future of Roanoke Park. We do this for the betterment of our city, and especially the neighborhoods that share Roanoke Park.
Trail Maps, in various formats:
Roanoke_Park_Trails.pdf (417 kb).
Roanoke Park Trees and Trails Google Map
"Roanoke Park Tour" on MTBProject.com
To avoid damaging trails, check Trail Status before biking or hiking off road. ("Rozarks" = Roanoke Park's 2.5 miles plus Rosedale's 3.5 miles.)
Contact the Westport-Roanoke Community Center to find out about their facilities or inquire about reserving spaces.