Hearing on Kansas bill that could damage trail-building efforts

The Kansas House committee overseeing HB 2583 held a hearing Tuesday, February 10th. The bill has provisions that could damage the ability of volunteers and volunteer organizations to help build and maintain trails in Kansas. See the MoBikeFed Advocacy Alert for more info. Here is a report on the hearing from Michael Goodwin, President of the Kansas Trails Council:
The hearing on House Bill 2583 was well attended yesterday with about 20 people having to stand. There were 7 people testifying in favor of the Bill and 13 of us testifying in opposition to the Bill.

To summarize, it seemed to go well but the bill will not go away easily. Many Committee members seemed to be struggling with the punitive effect the bill would have on our volunteer members. Other members seemed equally concerned about the aggrieved adjacent landowners. There were several suggestions (even from one of the proponents of the Bill) to modify the language by removing the reference to "members" as potential litigants. Amy Thornton from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (who attended our January KTC meeting) also appeared in opposition to the Bill.

The following organizations testified in opposition to the Bill: Kansas Natural Resources Council, Kansas Horseman's Council, Kansas Sierra Club, Kansas League of Municipalities, Kansas Wildlife
(Federation?), Kanza Rail Trail, Audubon of Kansas. Proponents of the bill included the Kansas Livestock Association, the Kansas Farm Bureau and a couple of State Senators.

Several of us who attended the hearing debriefed afterwards and agreed to start coordinating our efforts regarding the Bill and begin collaborating on ways in which we can improve the State's approach to trail development.

Stay tuned.

A copy of the hearing testimony by Ken Miner (ERTA and IMBA representative) is included in the "Comment" of this article (click "Comment" below to view).