ALERT: Gov Greitens undecided about Rock Island Trail; your feedback needed now

[[VERY URGENT - PLEASE SHARE WIDELY THROUGH 31 JULY 2017]] 

Ameren is set to donate 144 miles of Rock Island Trail corridor to Missouri State Parks by the end of this year, to become Missouri's SECOND cross-state trail.

----> Click here to complete the Governor's Rock Island Trail survey
----> One simple message: "Please accept the Rock Island Trail."

But--Gov. Greitens and State Parks leaders have recently said the Governor is UNDECIDED about whether or not to accept the trail--a gift to the state worth many millions of dollars.

The survey was created to help Governor Greitens make his final decision about the Rock Island Trail. 

 

UPDATE: Rock Island Trail Rally planned for 8:30am, Friday August 11th at the Capitol South Steps in Jefferson City

MoBikeFed, the Missouri Rock Island Trail, Inc, and the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy are planning a rally in support of the Rock Island Trail on Friday, August 11th, at 8:30am on the Capitol South Steps, Jefferson City.

Rally participants will receive a Rock Island tshirt and will hear speeches in support of the Rock Island Trail from community leaders of Rock Island Communities, as well as Liz Thorstensen, Vice-President of Trail Development with the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy in Washington, DC, the world's premier grassroots rail-trails organizations.

Meet us at the South Steps of the Capitol between 8am and 8:30am on Friday, August 11th.

The Rally will conclude by 9:15am--in time for participants in the 2017 Missouri Active Transportation Summit to walk to Jefferson City Hall for Liz's Plenary Seech at the Summit

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!

Current survey responses "far too few"

We have just heard from officials that the current number of survey responses is far too few to tip the Governor's decision in favor of the trail. 

We need 20X or 50X the number of survey responses to tip the balance.

----> Click here to complete the Governor's Rock Island Trail survey
----> One simple message: "Please accept the Rock Island Trail."

So please take two minutes to complete the survey now.

Your message can be simple--no lengthy, detailed essays needed.  Just copy & paste.

Because what we need now is not eloquence, but an outpouring of support from many, many thousands of people from around Missouri and the world for the one simple message:

Please accept the Rock Island Trail

All the details about the Rock Island Trail, the Governor's upcoming decision, and why this is important

Please contact Governor Greitens and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources today to let them know that you support the development of the Rock Island Trail. Instructions and sample messages of support are below.

Last week, we alerted trail supporters that Missouri State Parks had asked the city of Belle to suspend development of a portion of the Rock Island Trail while the state decided on its position about accepting the next 144 miles of the Rock Island railroad corridor.

The Rock Island Trail is in jeopardy unless we speak up now

Now Governor Greitens and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources have officially declared that they are "undecided" about accepting the 144-miles of corridor. 

Work has been underway to salvage rail from the corridor in preparation with the goal of turning the corridor over to Missouri State Parks in late 2017 or early 2018.  That final--and most important!--step is in jeopardy unless we speak up now.

The public statement from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources:

The Rock Island Trail Project stands to be a significant undertaking, and it is essential to understand the immediate and long term liabilities, costs, benefits and opportunities specific to this project. It is necessary for the Department to take the time to do an assessment of the project and engage stakeholders and the communities who stand to be impacted.

The Department is happy to receive input from the public about this project and encourages those who wish to share their thoughts to contact us through our survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YRQX56F.

Please support the Rock Island Trail two different ways

Please send your message of support for the Rock Island Trail to two different places.  You can copy & paste the very same message to both:

Sample message in support of the Rock Island

Please be polite and persuasive when you leave a message in the survey and contact the governor's office.

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.

More points of support for the Rock Island

If you want to add a few points of support to your messag:

  • The Trail is an amazing public-private partnership, with Ameren donating property worth millions of dollars and private and local donors lined up to contribute millions of dollars to the success of the project.  But we need Missouri State Parks to take the necessary steps to make all of this private investment possible--that is the "public" part of the public-private partnership.
     
  • Tell a little about where 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 trails are 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.

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

Keep in mind . . .

Keep in mind that the key leaders involved--Governor Greitens, Department of Natural Resources Director Carol Comer, and new Missouri State Parks Director Ben Ellis--are NOT against the trail.

Rather, they are undecided, unfamiliar with the issue, and taking their time--as responsible public servants do!--to learn the facts and to make a wise decision.

Your feedback to the Governor, DNR, and State Parks leaders is an important part of that decision-making process.

The governor and other elected officials are hearing from trail opponents in spades.  The opponents 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--now is the time.

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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