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.
Roanoke Park Conservancy board member Patrick Faltico reached out to our Urban Trail Co trail steward Scott Lillis with the idea for a connection to the upper trail just below W. Roanoke Drive, "The Layover." Patrick thought trail users would appreciate a connection from the top of the stairs, as an option to having to drop all the way to Karnes. They got started clearing the corridor on the morning of June 19, 2021.
Local BSA Troop members answered the call to put in some volunteer time. Conservancy board member and Jackson County Legislator Scott Burnett spent some time discussing local government with them for a merit badge requirement then met them at the trail site. Patrick had string trimmed some of the corridor and the boys helped by pulling and trimming other plants, picking up litter and moving rocks and logs.
A videoographer from KCMO Parks was there to document the scene. Check out that great video above! We can't emphasize enough how much Roanoke Park, and all of our parks, rely on the work of volunteers.
This wasn't the first time scouts have helped out. Another trail connection over by the Coleman Highlands Spring was the Eagle project of Ethan from Troop 16, working at that time with Brett Shoffner. In the same area, the bat boxes and the old roadbed planting were Eagle projects. Scouts have also helped multiple times with seeding efforts, most recently helping collect river oats seed last year, part of which went to KC Wildlands.
See you on the TRAILS!
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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.