How the new 47-mile Rock Island Trail-Katy Trail connector can help the economies of trail towns - Daily Star-Journal

Headlines are quick hits from media outlets from Missouri and around the world. Follow the headline link for the full story. The source of this headline says:

Leeton and Chilhowee, along Route 2 in southern Johnson County, received good news from Gov. Jay Nixon and state park officials last week.

They announced a part of Rock Island Trail, a 47.5 mile stretch connected to the Katy Trail, will be completed in 2016 between Windsor and Pleasant Hill. The work includes providing gravel, trail heads, gates, culverts and three bridges at a cost ranging from $9.2 million to $14.2 million.

Certainly, at the most basic level, the news is good for community residents who want to get out and enjoy nature while walking or biking along an improved trail. There is beautiful countryside to view along the rolling, bucolic hills of southern Johnson County.

How good the news becomes for Leeton and Chilhowee from the standpoint of tourism revenue is up to those communities and their leaders. Elsewhere in Missouri, where already completed, the larger Katy Trail has had a positive economic impact on communities, State Parks representative Brent Bayer reported at a meeting earlier this month in Chilhowee.

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MoBikeFed comment: The article's summary of the positive impact trails like this can have on the trail towns is right on target. Trail towns that have embraced their trails have found them a steady, dependable, positive economic force on the community.

The longer the trail, the further people will travel to visit it. The fact that this new segment of trail will be connected to the 240-mile Katy Trail, and eventually part of a 450+ mile Katy/Rock Island Trail system means that visitors from all over America and all over the world may soon be visiting--if the communities and Missouri state as a whole is wise enough to invest in an effective trail tourism marketing campaign.

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