Photos courtesy of Ellen Brennema

April 13, 2024

Jackson County Parks + Rec is touting a three-year partnership with the local Sierra Club that has restored and improved the Eddy-Ballentine trail area at the County’s Blue River Parkway, located south of Lakeside Nature Center and Swope Park. Dozens of volunteers have contributed 600 hours of work clearing out invasive honeysuckle that crowded out native plants.

“Jackson County Parks + Rec is incredibly appreciative of the work the volunteers have performed to enhance accessibility for the public to enjoy this unique trail,” said Michele Newman, Director, Jackson County Parks + Rec. “We value our partnership with the Sierra Club and the dedicated volunteers who have made this possible.”

The Eddy-Ballentine Trail is a hidden gem cherished by nature enthusiasts and adventurers alike. As one of the few places where the majestic ‘Bethany Falls’ limestone layer emerges from the earth, this trail offers a unique glimpse into the geological wonders of the region. Much of this beautifully weathered and impressive limestone can be seen from the nearby Blue River Glades Natural Area, which is accessible from the Eddy-Ballentine Trail, starting at Blue River Road. By improving the area, not only could more people enjoy the relatively easy 1.4-mile Eddy-Ballentine loop without having to plan an all-day trip, but also native plants could have a chance to reestablish themselves.

“This natural area provides amazing views and a restful getaway, especially from the stress of city life,” said Sierra Club Chair Eileen McManus. “Additionally, our efforts further support our Outdoors for All and Nearby Nature programs that seek to advance equitable access to these beautiful amenities in our community.”

The Eddy-Ballentine trail area provided an excellent opportunity for volunteers in the KC area to work together on these goals, since it is in a large park already enjoyed by diverse communities. The work is made possible through a grant offered by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). Anyone interested in volunteering with the Sierra Club can email