Update on the Point of Rocks Issue

Over the last two months there has been an on-going dialogue between the Kansas Department of Transportation and area historians over the alteration of the landmark Point of Rocks that is
located four miles west of Dodge City. KDOT’s plans to widen U.S. 50 highway from Dodge City to Cimarron in western Kansas involves taking a sizable chunk of the rock which has, since the early 1800s, been a landmark to travelers and cattle drovers. Today, that Point is recognizable to most people because of the cowboy sculpture that sits atop the Point and is a gateway image into the west side of Dodge City.

On December 17, representatives from the Fort Dodge/Cimarron Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail Association and the Great Western Cattle Trail Association as well as the land owner and State Representatives Ron Ryckman and Bud Estes met with KDOT engineers, designers, and a geologist. A two-hour session ensued.

KDOT’s position is that, because they are concerned with safety, a 60-foot median is necessary
between the existing two lanes and the additional two lanes to be added. This plan would cut deeply into Point of Rocks.

KDOT Plans remove large portion of Point of Rocks

Estimation of KDOT’s proposal (red) & Point of Rocks Advocates’ proposal (green)

The consensus of opinion by the historians, land owner, and representatives is that we are not opposed to the widening of the highway from two lanes to four lanes, but we recommend a 16-foot median between the lanes which would save a greater portion of the Point. This 16-foot median construction would be for only the one and one half mile from Highway 400 to Point of Rocks.

On January 7, KDOT engineers met with the Dodge City Commissioners and again presented
the 60-foot median plan. The recommendation voiced by the historians and land owner a few weeks before seems to have been ignored.

Meanwhile, more support in favor of saving Point of Rocks has been received on this website.
There are currently over 2,000 signatures. KAKE TV aired the controversy in December and
The Hutch News and the Wichita Eagle have had articles about Point of Rocks.

The February issue of True West Magazine has this week hit news stands. In their annual “True Western Towns of the Year” feature, Dodge City was selected number one in the U.S.

Author of The Western: The Greatest Texas Cattle Trail 1874-1886
Member of the Great Western Cattle Assoc. & Fort Dodge/Cimarron Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail Assoc.
Owner of The Old Hardware Store in Halstead, KS