MORIT Annual Meeting: MU Extension study shows potential economic impact of Rock Island trail development along rail corridor, public support for trail over 98% | Gasconade County Republican

Headlines are quick hits from media outlets from Missouri and around the world. Follow the headline link for the full story. The source of this headline says:

Missouri Rock Island Trail, Inc., (MoRIT) supporters heard positive feedback from Pat Curry, author of the “Rock Island Trail Opportunity Analysis” at the annual March 28 meeting, but Missouri State Parks (MSP) Deputy Director Mike Sutherland continues to deliver warnings about the state’s ability to support the endeavor.

“It’s a no brainer to accept the trail,” Curry told a group of 50 or more trail supporters present from Owensville, Belle, Eldon, Jefferson City, Cook County and Windsor to name a few.

MoRIT Executive Director Greg Harris hired Curry, who works for the University of Missouri Extension, to do a third-party analysis of the impact the 144-miles of Rock Island Trail could have on more than 30 communities that it runs through.

“I have seen the transformative impact trails can have on communities,” Curry said. “Trail-based operations drives more outdoor activities than anything else.” . . .

Curry said he read through 1,875 comments from the October 2018 town hall meetings during his research for the economic analysis.

“About 98.6 percent of the comments were overwhelmingly positive,” Curry reported back.

MoBikeFed comment: There is no question that public support for the Rock Island Trail has had a major impact on the willingness of statewide elected officials, State Parks leaders, and state senators and representatives to take the Rock Island Trail State Park proposal seriously.

We should not underestimate the difficulties and work involved with Missouri State Parks accepting the corridor and agreeing to take the lead in its development as a trail in the upcoming decades, as underlined by State Parks Deputy Director Mike Sutherland at this meeting.

There is no question that accepting the Rock Island corridor is a major commitment by Missouri State Parks and will require a considerable amount of work and coordination by State Parks over the long term.

And there is no question about State Parks having enough funding to build the trail on its own. It simply does not have that amount of funding available.

That is why it is vital the local communities, private foundations, private businesses and individuals step up and the the maximum use is made of available grants and other funding sources.

Trail across the country are building using this mix of funding sources, and it can work for the Rock Island Trail State Park as well.

That is why we are very pleased the local state legislators and Missouri State Parks leaders have stepped up to introduce and support innovative legislation creating a Rock Island Trail Endowment Fund.

The bills are HB1044, HB1206, and SB473.


These bills and the Rock Island Trail in general will be among our highest priorities for the annual Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Trails Day and Ride with Legislators in Jefferson City on Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019.

Hope you can join us--it's fun, easy, and VERY effective!