Kaw Point is surrounded by industry and development. In 2002, the point itself still existed in an overgrown and neglected state.
In 2002 when Robert Kennedy,Jr. visited Kaw Point, he was asked at a press conference, what he thought of the area. He replied “This is a squandered resource.” This motivated Wyandotte County and Kansas City, KS and many volunteers to begin the process of building and improving the park in preparation for the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial commemorative event held on June 26-29, 2004.
The Wyandotte County Lewis and Clark Task Force, in partnership with the State of Kansas, Unified Government, local Convention and Visitors Bureau, Friends of the Kaw, various community organizations, and private funders, worked together to improve the site. Donations from local business and literally thousands of volunteers provided site clean-up, trail enhancement, infrastructure restoration, signage, historical interpretation, and visitor support services for the Bicentennial events.
Since 2004, a renewed effort by the newly organized Friends of Kaw Point Park, Inc. has resulted in significant improvements and additions to this legacy project. These included trail resurfacing, the construction of an amphitheater, installation of informational signage, flood mitigation work, bank and woodland restorations and fundraising campaign for our future projects.
In 2012, Kaw Point Park was designated as a Lewis and Clark Destination Site on the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail by the National Park Service.
In 2017 NorthPoint Development finished the new industrial park just to the north east of Kaw Point Park. This addition improved the entrance to Kaw Point Park. North Point Development also installed the 45 foot tall Lewis and Clark metal silhouette to the south side of their new building. This can be easily seen from the Lewis and Clark viaduct.
Our long range goal is to construct a $12 million interpretive center, as well as improvement of the trails, dock, and ramp.
IN MEMORY OF MIKE CALWELL(1940 – 2019):
Mike Calwell was an original member of the Lewis and Clark Task Force and was instrumental in building the boat ramp for the 2004 Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Celebration.
Mike was the host for the St. Charles Corps of Discovery during the Bicentennial Celebration and later joined this group and was known as Sargent Patrick Gass.
Mike was a founding board member of Friends of Kaw Point Park, Inc. and served as their second president for over 10 years. Over the years he spent many hours at the park making many improvements including the design and building of the Encampment Theater; concreting the woodland paths; the design, production and installation of the 45 foot Lewis and Clark silloette; and many other small projects and improvements.
In 2014 Mike was recognized as the Tourism Advocate of the Year by the Kansas City Kansas Convention and Visitors Bureau for his work to improve and promote Kaw Point Park.