KCStar encourages Katy Trail connection to Kansas Cty

The following editorial appeared in Thursday's Kansas City Star.

The meeting mentioned in the article was a good start at kindling interest in the Katy Trail Connection. MoBikeFed's Brent Hugh attended the meeting as MBF representative. MoBikeFed will be taking an important role in helping coordinate statewide advocacy to make the complete Katy Trail--state line to state line--a reality.

Bicyclists who wish to help the Complete Katy Trail become a reality can email the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to encourage the department to make the Katy Trail Connection a priority:

Email: oac@dnr.mo.gov

Doyle Childers, director
Department of Natural Resources
P. O. Box 176, Jefferson City, MO 65102
The Kansas City Star editorial:
Kansas Citians enjoy hiking and biking on the Katy Trail that stretches across much of mid-Missouri. The problem is, getting to the trail isn't as convenient as it should be for area residents.

The nearest entrance point is in Clinton, which is where the trail starts on this side of Missouri and is more than an hour away from much of the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Some people have worked for years to extend the hard-surface trail much closer to Kansas City. It's an excellent idea.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is supposed to provide leadership on extending the trail, which is a state park. So far officials have not had much success. On Friday the department is scheduled to visit Raytown and tell local officials how the project is going.

The best news would be that the department has made progress in acquiring property along a 50-mile rail line from Windsor (which is along the trail and just east of Clinton) to Pleasant Hill in the southern part of the metropolitan area.

A few years ago state officials said they were close to working out a deal with Union Pacific to donate this property for the trail extension. But the deal didn't occur, and another company now controls the property.

Extending the Katy Trail from Windsor into Pleasant Hill would encourage more Kansas City area residents to use the walkway, which covers 225 miles across the state to St. Charles. Walkers, hikers, joggers and bicyclists see beautiful scenery such as river bluffs along with many kinds of wildlife.

The ultimate goal ought to be linking the Katy Trail with the Kansas City region's ever-expanding number of local trails. In the last few years, cities and counties have built dozens of miles of trails to serve a growing number of people. Many of the paths are part of the MetroGreen plan, overseen by groups associated with the Mid-America Regional Council.

Extending the Katy Trail would benefit Kansas Citians by giving them better access to one of the true jewels of Missouri's parks system.

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