As well as providing much-needed pathways for the Americans of today, rail-trails also secure corridors of great historic and cultural significance. Many of the nation's rail-trails are journeys back in time. But they are not always celebrations of those times.
A new rail-trail being developed in southwest Missouri will commemorate the tragic displacement of more than 13,000 Cherokee from their lands in the Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia mountains to the designated Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma.
Referred to by the Cherokee as nunahi-duna-dlo-hilu-I - - "the trail where they cried," about 4,500 Cherokee died on the trail during the forced relocation.
According to the News-Leader in Springfield, Mo., the nonprofit Ozark Greenways hopes to transform the existing rail bed into a trail by the end of the year. To be known as the Ozark Greenways Trail of Tears, the pathway will include signs explaining the historic nature of the path through southwest Springfield and Greene County.