Trail of the Month: September 2001
Katy Trail, Missouri
This month Rails-to-Trails Conservancy heads to St. Louis, Missouri, as we continue leading the way to healthy communities by hosting TrailLink 2001: The 3rd International Trails and Greenways Conference. With trail builders and greenways professionals from across the U.S. and a dozen different countries as well as Missouri Governor Bob Holden converging on St. Louis, there is no better time than now to highlight the Katy Trail State Park as RTC's September Trail-of-the-Month.
At 225 miles and spanning nearly the entire state of Missouri in an east-west fashion, Katy Trail State Park wholly embodies RTC's vision of connecting communities by converting abandoned rail corridors into multi-use trails. Katy Trail State Park also illustrates the importance of the railbanking provisions added to the National Trails System Act in 1983. This legislation allows for interim trail use on railroad corridors and "railbanks" the corridor for possible rail use in the future.
In 1986, when the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (nicknamed the 'Katy') ceased operation on this corridor, Missouri residents, led by the late Ted Jones and Darwin Hindman (now mayor of Columbia, MO), assisted the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MODNR) with the process of railbanking the corridor. RTC became critically involved the next year when the first lawsuit was brought against the Katy Trail. RTC has fought to protect the Katy Trail in court for over fourteen years and continues to do so to this day.
As part of TrailLink 2001, Katy Trail State Park will play host to two of RTC's Mobile Workshops, providing conference participants with the option to Bike and Boat, or to Bus and Boat, part of the Katy Trail. Each workshop will be hosted by a representative from the MODNR and the Greater St. Charles Convention & Visitor Bureau.
These Mobile Workshops offer the chance to have a guided tour of nearly 27 miles through agricultural fields and wineries, along limestone river bluffs and past many historic railroad landmarks. Not only for participants of Traillink 2001, but for anyone, a visit to all or a portion of the Katy Trail is an experience in diversity, community, and beauty as you experience America's longest rail-trail.