Missouri Bicycling, Walking, Running, and Trails News

Massive potential 280-mile Ozark Trail Mountain Bike System in Missouri mapped; Your comments in support needed by Monday

The Ozark Trail is an amazing 350-mile trail through scenic southern Missouri. All of it is open to hiking--but only a portion to mountain biking.

MoBikeFed has had the goal of creating a world-class mountain bike route along the Ozark Trail, using alternative routes where trails are closed to mountain biking.

The update to Ozark National Scenic Riverways (ONSR) Road and Trail Plan, underway through next Monday, has created a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring this idea to reality.

Imagine a 280-mile, seamless mountain bike trail through some of the most beautiful scenery Missouri has to offer.

That is what is possible--in just the next few years--with your help.

To make it possible, though, we need the key mountain bike trail connections through ONSR.  And they are not (yet!) a part of the trail alternatives ONSR has proposed.

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Your comments needed! Trails plan for Missouri's National Park allows just 1/6 the mountain bike access of most Missouri trail systems

A MoBikeFed analysis of the proposed Ozark National Scenic Riverways (ONSR) trails plan shows that it opens just ONE-SIXTH the amount of trails to mountain biking as do other similar trail systems in Missouri. Furthermore, the current proposal lacks two key trail connections required to make a complete, contiguous, and connected 280-mile section of the Ozark Trail mountain bikeable.

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Cape Girardeau area bicycle & pedestrian plan open for public comment: Your comments needed; Our reaction and suggestions

A few years ago, serious regional bicycle and pedestrian planning was the domain of a few of our largest cities--Columbia, St. Louis, Springfield, St Joseph, and (most recently) Kansas City.

But no more--right now we have serious bicycle and pedestrian planning or implementation initiatives going on in far southwest Missouri (Harry S. Truman Coordinating Council), in Joplin, in Jefferson City, in Rolla, in the Kaysinger Basin Regional Planning Commission (Warsaw area), and several other areas around the state.

To that list, add the Cape Girardeau region, as the Southeast Metropolitan Planning Organization (SEMPO) has been working for some time on an extensive, detailed, and comprehensive regional bicycle and pedestrian plan.

Public feedback on the draft Cape Girardeau area Bike/Ped Plan requested by January 14th

Now SEMPO has released the draft plan, is asking for public feedback on the plan, and is planning a public open house on the plan January 9th, 2018.

If you live, work, bicycle, or walk in the Cape Girardeau/Jackson area of Missouri, please take a few minutes to give feedback on the plan.

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Your feedback needed! New mountain bike routes in Missouri's Ozark National Scenic Riverways could be hub of massive 280 mile mountain bike network

A new trails plan for Missouri's Ozark National Scenic Riverways has the potential to create a massive 280 mile mountain biking system.  But your feedback is needed to help build support for these important new trail links.

Ozark National Scenic Riverways - Missouri's only national park area with the potential to allow extensive mountain biking and hiking trails - has extended the public comment period on its roads and trails plan until January 15th, 2018. 

The new roads and trails plan proposes, for the first time in ONSR history, to allow mountain biking on some of the trails in ONSR.

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How much do people in Missouri bicycle? Is the amount of bicycling growing? How does MO compare with the U.S. and the world?

How much do people in Missouri bicycle?  Is the amount of bicycling in Missouri growing?  How to Missouri communities compare with other U.S. cities and with major cities of the world?

This is a graph we often use in presentations to give a quick birds-eye view of that data, and how Missouri compares to the U.S. and the world over time.

 

Some of the high points:

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Blast from the past: Why Missouri River Bike/Ped Bridge at Jefferson City was so important - and why bike/ped access on ALL major river crossings is important

Back at the groundbreaking for the Pat Jones Bike/Ped Path over the Missouri River at Jefferson City in 2010, blogger Julianna Schroeder gave her impressions about why the new bike/ped connection across the river was so important--lessons that are still worth thinking about whenever we consider a major river bridge in Missouri:

This morning was the groundbreaking ceremony for the long-awaited pedestrian addition to the Missouri River Bridge here at Jefferson City. . .

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Community support for Rock Island Trail intensifies as Gasconade River Bridge ties burn

The 1776 foot long Gasconade River Bridge--the longest bridge in Missouri--is planned as the centerpiece of the Rock Island Trail. Ties across the bridge burned overnight and through the early morning Wednesday.

Cause of the fire is unknown at this time, but ABC17 reports on some possibilities:

Deputies said that based on the initial investigation, the fire does not seem to be suspicious in nature. 

Deputies said crews were working on the bridge yesterday with metal cutting torches but an officials investigation will be conducted to rule out any suspicious activity.

Trail supporters reacted to the fire with renewed energy and enthusiasm for the trail. Incidents like the fire underline the need to more forward with trail construction at the fastest possible pace.

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ALERT: MoDOT needs YOUR input as it sets 25-year transportation priorities

When MoBikeFed first approached MoDOT about including bicycling, walking, and trails in the statewide transportation plan in the early 1990s, MoDOT literally had no plans or guidelines for including bicycling or walking on its roads.

How far we've come! Now MoDOT is asking for OUR input:

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Adventure Cycling Association writes in support of Missouri's Rock Island Trail

Last week the Adventure Cycling Association--one of the world's largest cycling membership organizations--joined a cavalcade of groups from across Missouri and the nation who have written to Missouri State Parks in support of the Rock Island Trail.

Have you completed the Missouri State Parks Public Survey asking for public input about whether or not to accept the next 144-mile section fo the Rock Island Trail?  If not, please take two minutes to complete the Survey today--it will be open through August 31st.

Here is the full text of the Adventure Cycling Association's letter.  It makes an excellent case for the importance and economic impact of the Rock Island Trail--which will be an important part of a national bicycle touring route reacing from San Francisco to W:

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The Rock Island Trail is vital to the economic health of its communities: Rock Island Rally results

At the rally for the Rock Island Trail held on the steps of the Missouri State Capitol, we saw powerful evidence of the importance of the trail to Rock Island Communities across the heart of Missouri.

Many thanks go to everyone who attended the rally--from all parts of Missouri--and to those who traveled from towns across 190 miles of existing and prospective Rock Island Trail to tell how important the trail is to each and every community along its path.

The Rock Island Trail is "an opportunity to create a future"

The Jefferson City News-Tribune wrote:

Liz Thorstensen, vice president of nonprofit advocacy group Rails-to-Trails Conservancy in Washington, D.C., said Rust Belt cities like Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Cleveland and parts of Pennsylvania and Maryland are being reinvigorated by investments in new bike trails that attract tourists and spur spending by local residents. Trails can help towns sell themselves as walkable, bikable and healthy communities to businesses, she said.

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Missouri Chamber of Commerce writes about economic impact of Rock Island Trail

In a remarkable editorial by Dan Mehan, President and CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, published in Missouri Business Magazine this month, the Missouri Chamber gives a strong endorsement of the importance of outdoor recreation to Missouri's economy--emphasizing the impact of the recently opened 47-mile segment of the Rock Island Trail on Missouri's rural communities:

I love the outdoors. I realize this perspective is far from unique. Outdoor recreation is an $887 billion industry in our country, supporting 7.6 million jobs, according to the latest data from the national Outdoor Industry Association.

Missourians are blessed with incredible natural resources that enable us to experience the outdoors in many ways. Hunting and fishing are a big part of our state’s culture, as are canoeing, powerboating, bicycling and hiking.

Our outdoor resources are important tourism drivers. The most recent annual report from the Missouri Division of Tourism shows that 13 percent of the visitors to our state came to see our state parks. . . . .

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Missouri Trail Towns

Missouri is a leading trails state, with numerous statewide, regional, and local trails and trail systems.

But many times, cities and towns along our trails do not reap the full potential economic benefits of their trails, because they have not yet fully developed into "trail towns".

What is a trail town?

Simply put, it is a town the takes full advantage of their local trail system and connections to regional, statewide, and national trails to:

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