ALERT: Contact Gov Greitens to ask support of the Rock Island Trail

[ALERT: Please share this message and invite citizens to contact Gov Greitens in support of the Rock Island Trail throughout 2017 - this is a long-term issue that will require a long-term commitment of support.]

Yesterday, the Gasconade County Republican published this important story about Missouri's Rock Island Trail State Park. The city of Belle was set to develop the first 1.1 miles of the Rock Island Trail State Park between Windsor and Washington.

Missouri's Rock Island Trail: The blue portion is now open; work on the orange p
Missouri's Rock Island Trail: The blue portion is now open; work on the orange portion is underway; but now the RED portion is threatened--again!

But now Missouri State Parks has asked Belle to suspend trail development until next year:

State Parks, DNR ask Belle to suspend Rock Island Trail development

Representatives from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and State Parks visited with Belle aldermen June 7 asking the city to “suspend” development of its trail project for one year to allow state agencies sufficient time to “evaluate its options with Missouri Central Rail Road (MCRR).”

DNR’s Rich Germinder, legislative director since 2016, and Rebecca McKinstry, real estate manger/assistant general counsel for State Parks, presented  three elected officials with a letter from DNR Director Carol S. Comer requesting the suspension of the Recreational Trails Project (RTP) grant.

The grant was awarded in 2014 to create a 1.1 mile trail through Belle city limits beside the former Rock Island railroad. In October 2016, the scope of the grant was changed to build a trail on top of the rail bed. The city requested permission from Ameren Missouri, owner of MCRR, and State Parks to begin the project early. They had hoped to begin the project in 2016 and complete it this spring. It was delayed again with this spring and city officials had hoped for it to be completed this fall. However, Comer’s letter has delayed the project for at least another year.
 

Governor Greitens is undecided - and your voice is needed to help him make the right decision

The situation in Belle is in line with the actions we have reported earlier in the 2017 legislative session, where Governor Greitens has indicated he will make a decision later in 2017 about the Missouri Rock Island Trail.  It is not that the Governor is against the trail per se.  Rather, this is a completely new issue to him and he is completely undecided.

Trail opponents have been very active in getting the ears of legislators, state staff, and other state leaders.

So, now it is our turn: It is very important that citizens continue to contact Governor Greitens and let him know that we strongly support the trail.

The Rock Island Trail will be both scenic and a major economic generator for the
The Rock Island Trail will be both scenic and a major economic generator for the state

How to contact Governor Greitens in support of the Rock Island Trail State Park

Please be very polite and persuasive when you contact the governor's office.

You can leave an online message here. For "subject" choose "Natural Resources" (because the trail will be a State Park, which is under the Missouri Department of Natural Resources).

Or (even better) make a brief phone call to (573) 751-3222.

Your message can be very simple:

I strongly support the Rock Island Trail and hope you will support the Rock Island Trail and accept the Rock Island corridor from Ameren later this year.

And . . . CC: Your message supporting the Rock Island Trail to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources

Since we posted this page, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources has posted an online survey asking citizens to give feedback to help guide their decision about whether or not to accept the Rock Island Trail State Park.

Please copy & paste the same message you send to Governor Greitens to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Rock Island Trail Survey here.

Keep in mind . . .

Keep in mind that Governor Greitens is not against the trail.

Rather, he is undecided, he is unfamiliar with the issue, and he is taking his time--as a responsible public servant does!--to learn the facts and to make a wise decision.

Your feedback to the Governor is an important part of that decision-making process.

The governor and other elected officials are hearing from trail opponents in spades.  They are few but very noisy.

We need to speak up as well--and be passionate about our position, but also polite, persuasive, and persistent.

We need to be as noisy and persistent as trail opponents--but more calm, reasoned, and clear in our support.

This is an important issue--one of the most important we have faced in the 22 years MoBikeFed has been advocating for better bicycling, walking, and trails in Missouri.

We need to speak up.

More points of support for the Rock Island

If you want to add a few points of support:

  • Where do you live (especially if close to our adjoining the Rock Island Trail or another trail; do you live in a small town where trails are important, a rural town where trails are important, a suburban town where trails are important, and so on?) and why are trails important to you personally and your community?
     
  • Trails are important economic drivers and are an especially important economic and business opportunity for Rock Island communities, who badly need and want this kind of economic opportunity
     
  • The Katy Trail is an amazing national example of how successful and important trails can be to the economies of rural communities
     
  • History shows that the Katy Trail has been good neighbor and the Rock Island Trail will be as well. Some of the current problems (ie fencing, unauthorized access during railroad salvage) will be solved immediately once State Parks takes possession of the property but won't ever be solved as long as the corridor remains in private hands.
     
  • Rock Island communities really want the trail - they have been working for decades to make it happen.  This is very different from the situation with the Katy Trail, where a number of the local communities were bitterly fighting it (though others were supporting).  Rock Island communities are lined up solidly in support.
     
  • Trails have huge bipartisan support in Missouri that cuts across political and geographical lines

    Rock Island Trail supporting signatures
    The Rock Island Trail has h-u-g-e support from citizens from across the state and country. In this photo, representatives of MoBikeFed and MoRIT meet with Ameren to deliver petition signatures in support of the Rock Island Trail. The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy played a key role in promoting the trail, helping build nationwide support, and in submitting a competitive bid to purchase the corridor.
  • The trail corridor is an incredibly valuable and important gift to the people of Missouri, that we have been working for decades to obtain. If the opportunity to accept the trail is lost later this year, that opportunity will be lost forever.
     
  • The larger the trail system, the further people will travel to visit it and the longer they will stay.  With the Katy Trail and Rock Island Trail together, Missouri will have a trail system that will be the envy of the world and that will bring travelers from all over the world--even more than currently visit the Katy Trail.
     
  • This internationally significant trail system, benefitting communities across the heart of Missouri, will be a major part of Governor Greitens' legacy.

More about Missouri's new cross-state trail, the Rock Island Trail, on our Rock Island Trail page.

 

Supporting a world-class bicycle, pedestrian, and trails network across Missouri is one of four major goals of our Vision for Bicycling and Walking in Missouri. Supporting major statewide trails initiatives like the Rock Island Trail is one of the most important things we do to help reach that goal.

Your ongoing membership and generous financial support helps turn our Vision into reality.  Thank you!

 

Rock Island Trail corridor image courtesy Missouri Rock Island Trail, Inc.

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