The news that Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss is contributing $30,000 toward the 38-mile Landon Trail is most excellent news for local outdoors enthusiasts. Topeka and all of Kansas are lucky to enjoy expansive hiking opportunities — now it’s up to you to use them.

Wyss lives in Jackson, Wyo., and is planning to spend $1 billion on natural lands in the United States, particularly in the West. It’s money well spent to preserve and enhance a true and lasting treasure of our country

If you’re not sure what the Landon Trail is, Topeka Capital-Journal reporter Brianna Childers outlined it expertly in her story about the donation. It “begins in front of the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, runs south through Berryton to the Clinton Wildlife Area, crosses northern Osage Country and into Overbrook. The trail then passes Pomona Lake and connects with the Flint Hills Nature Trail at Lomax Junction near Pomona.”

Clark Coan, secretary of the Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy, says the $30,000 will go toward finishing work on the trail from Overbrook to Michigan Valley and installing a “a crushed limestone screening on the former railroad bed.” The resulting hard surface will allow even more people to use the trail.

One of the gifts of living in the vast prairie expanses of Kansas is the ability to experience the open air and land. Our trail systems and public lands bring that ability to everyone in the state, regardless of background, age or income.

More background on the trails available to you can be easily accessed online if you’re curious, but most communities in this state are lucky enough to have public land and trail opportunities located within a few minutes’ drive. Finding something out of the way can be fun, but patronizing your local opportunities will be by far the most convenient.

Kansas might not have gigantic mountains or teeming mega-cities. We might not have oceans or yawning canyons. But we do have astonishing open space: the rolling swells of the Flint Hills, the vast grasslands and ranches of western Kansas, skies that stretch for eternities overhead.

It’s not for everyone. Not everyone is lucky enough to live here or to see the swaths of brilliant stars decorating that same country sky overnight. And not everyone who lives here has had the experience of seeing and experiencing this outdoor majesty.

That’s why our trails and outdoor spaces matter. And that’s why this donation is so worthwhile.