On December 15th, 2021 Missouri State Parks formerly accepted ownership of the old Rock Island line, rail banking and protected it for future development into a new cross-state trail from Windsor to Beaufort, MO.
BikeWalkKC has been involved in advocating and fundraising for this project since 2018, as part of Missourians for Responsible Transportation (MRT), a collaboration with Missouri’s local bike/ped nonprofits. MRT has been working hard to support the efforts of Missouri State Parks, the Department of Natural Resources, and the Missouri State Parks Foundation to realize the vision of a second cross-state rail trail leveraging the success of the Katy Trail State Park.
“We applaud the leadership of all three agencies in finding creative and pragmatic solutions to the complex challenges presented by this project. There are exciting opportunities to connect communities, create new recreational options, increase tourism, and develop thriving and healthy local economies. We look forward to working with our state and local partners as they plan, fund, and develop the new trail in the coming years,” Ron Bentch, MRT’s project director said.
MRT’s work to support our partners includes:
Serving on the fundraising cabinet and leading the private and philanthropic campaign to ensure the state has the necessary resources to prepare the corridor for future trail development.
Activating local communities along the corridor and keeping them informed and engaged.
Educating state legislators representing Rock Islandcorridor communities, building support for the vision and possibilities of a new cross-state trail, and engaging Missouri’s Congressional delegation about the importance of federal support for this once-in-a-generation opportunity.
Developing the corridor into a new trail will be a years-long project between Missouri State Parks and the local towns and counties along the corridor.
Locally in Kansas City, we still have a lot of work to do to close the gap between Lee’s Summit and Pleasant Hill, through the community of Greenwood. Closing this gap and fully connecting Kansas City to both the Katy Trail and Rock Island will be part of our 2022 Policy Agenda.
About Missourians for Responsible Transportation
MRT is a collaboration of BikeWalkKC in Greater Kansas City, Local Motion (formerly PedNet) in Columbia, Ozark Greenways in Springfield, and Trailnet in Greater St. Louis. We work together to advocate for state-wide active transportation goals in Jefferson City and to support local communities around the state with technical assistance for community planning and public policy. Learn more at www.movingmissouri.org.