Ribbon cutting Oct. 17, first segment of Busch Greenway, Katy Trail connection

According to Great Rivers Greenway, the first segment of the Busch Greenway, a scenic connector between Missouri Research Park and the Katy Trail State Park, will officially open October 17th, 2008:
The Great Rivers Greenway District, the public organization leading the development of a region-wide system of interconnected greenways, parks and trails known as The River Ring, has announced the completion of a new three-quarter mile trail that connects the Missouri Research Park in St. Charles County to the Katy Trail State Park. In addition to The District, partners for the project included the University of Missouri, Missouri Department of Conservation and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

The ribbon cutting to open the trail is 12-noon, Friday, October 17, at the boardwalk on the trail. Missouri Research Park is located at the Research Park Circle exit from U.S. Highway 40/64, near Highway 94 in St. Charles County (follow signs to event location).

Rick Finholt, Executive Director of Missouri Research Park, says the finished trail is a "dream come true" after several false starts over the past several years. "Thanks to the vision and determination of the Great Rivers Greenway District to complete this project, Missouri Research Park is now a more enjoyable place for workers, as well as a new destination for visitors. We are grateful to the District and all the other partners for working together to make our dream for this trail a reality," said Finholt.

The natural setting creates the most unique aspects of the trail. In addition to two different ecosystems – a forested area in the northern sector and a wetlands area in the southern sector, which also features boardwalk access for walkers and bicyclists – the northernmost 800 feet of the trail is benched into the side of a steep slope. The slope is supported by impressive retaining walls and the grade is designed to provide excellent disabled access.

From an environmental perspective, the trail lies between Missouri Bluff Golf Course and a chemical-free plant of the EPA award-winning Duckett Creek Sanitary District, which sends clean water back into a natural creek bed and recycles the biosolids.

Conveniently located for fast highway access to the Katy Trail State Park, the new trail is about midway between the Weldon Spring and Greens Bottom trailheads. Eventually, the Missouri Research Park Trail will connect to the Busch Conservation Area, as well as to the Dardenne Greenway, a 36-mile greenway that will parallel Dardenne Creek.

About The Great Rivers Greenway District:
The Great Rivers Greenway District is the public organization leading the development of a region-wide system of interconnected greenways, parks and trails, known as the River Ring. The River Ring will join two states and cover an area of 1,216 square miles. The Greenway District was established in November 2000 by the successful passage of the Clean Water, Safe Parks and Community Trails Initiative (Proposition C) in St. Louis City, St. Louis County and St. Charles County, Missouri. For more information about Great Rivers Greenway District, visit www.greatrivers.info.