Katy Trail State Park

Katy Trail State Park

Infobox Hiking trail
Name= Katy Trail
Photo= Katytrail1.pngCaption= The Katy Trail (red) and the Missouri River (blue) on a map of Missouri
Location=Missouri, United States
Length= Convert|225.1|mi|km|1|abbr=on
Start/End Points= St. Charles, Missouri
Clinton, Missouri
Use=Hiking, Cycling, Horseback
ElevChange= negligible
HighPoint= Windsor, Missouri
LowPoint= St. Charles, Missouri
Difficulty= Easy
Season= All
Sights= Missouri River, Manitou bluffs
Hazards= Severe weather
Poison ivy

The Katy Trail State Park is a recreation rail trail that runs Convert|225|mi|km|0 in the right-of-way of the former Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad. The nickname "Katy" comes from the phonetic pronunciation of 'KT' in the railroad's abbreviated name, MKT. The trail, widely known as the Katy Trail is a Missouri state park and one of the longest Rails-to-Trails trails in the United States. Sections of the Katy are part of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail and the American Discovery Trail. Most of the trail follows the northern bank of the Missouri River. The trail is open for use by hikers, joggers, and cyclists year-round, from sunrise to sunset. The trail is made up of "limestone pug" creating a hard flat surface.


On October 4, 1986, The Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad operated the final trains from Sedalia, Missouri to Machens, Missouri. On that day, after their passage, floodwater from the Missouri River severely damaged the track along the route. After experiencing many washouts in the past along this line, the railroad decided it would not repair. Trains were re-routed, and the right of way was to be abandoned.

Conversion of the corridor from a railroad to a trail was made possible by the National Trails System Act of 1968. In 1982 the city of Columbia opened the M.K.T. Trail on an abandoned spur of the Katy as one of the first rails-to-trails pilot projects in the United States. Because of a donation from Edward D. "Ted" Jones of St. Louis the Missouri Department of Natural Resources was able to secure the right-of-way. In 1991 the Union Pacific Railroad donated Convert|33|mi|km|0 of additional right-of-way from Sedalia to Clinton. Based on the success of the M.K.T. and the mentioned donations the trail was scheduled for completion in 1994. However, the Great Flood of 1993 damaged Convert|75|mi|km|0 of the original Convert|126|mi|km|0 of the trail. The completed trail was finally opened 1996 with the section from Sedalia to Clinton opening in 1999. [ [http://www.gocolumbiamo.com/ParksandRec/Parks/MKT_Trail/mkthistory.php MKT Nature and Fitness Trail History ] ] [ [http://www.mostateparks.com/katytrail/generalinfo.htm#history Katy Trail State Park - General Information - Missouri State Parks and Historic Sites, MoDNR ] ]

The trail is currently being expanded to include the corridor from St. Charles to Machens. Plans are also underway to expand the trail to the suburbs of Kansas City and downtown St. Louis. [http://www.bikekatytrail.com/machens20070208.htm] A 2002 study by the Mid-America Regional Council gives a number of options for achieving this. One option, that AmerenUE allow the use of its unused Rock Island Corridor rail line, has received particular attention. Missouri Governor, Matt Blunt, has asked Ameren to allow the use of the Rock Island Corridor for this purpose as compensation for a flood which devastated Johnson's Shut-ins State Park after the failure of a dam owned by Ameren. There is an effort to create a four-state trail system using several trails already in existence including the Katy. This "quad state" trail would connect Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, and Nebraska.


The Katy Trail currently begins at St. Charles (mile-marker 39) on the Missouri River and runs along the northern bank of the river for most of the trail's length. The next major city along the trail is Jefferson City — the state capital. At mile-marker 169 (McBaine) the trail intersects the M.K.T. which leads into downtown Columbia the largest city along the trail. The Katy then deviates from its original path and crosses the Missouri River at Boonville on the Boonslick Bridge instead of the original M.K.T. Bridge. From here the trail runs to its terminus in Clinton.


The MKT bridge at Boonville

Due to the Katy Trail's railbank status, it must always remain connected to the national railway network so that it could potentially be called back into active railway use. The segment of the trail between St. Charles and Sedalia was connected in two locations. One of these connections is in St. Charles and the other was provided by the Missouri-Kansas-Texas (MKT) Bridge at Boonville. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources was granted the right to keep the bridge in place and to use it at the MDNR's discretion as part of the trail per the following language of the Interim Trail Agreement signed 25 June 1987. However, on 28 April 2005, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources signed an amendment to the agreement abandoning its rights to the bridge and allowing Union Pacific to remove the bridge and thus creating two independent segments in the trail, east and west of Booneville respectively. The consequence of this is that if the connection in St. Charles is destroyed or otherwise rendered unusable by rail (such as by natural disaster), the segment of the trail between St. Charles and Boonville would lose its railbanked status and ownership of the land would probably revert back to its original owners from before the MKT Line was built. The same could happen to the segment east of Boonville if its connection is lost.

Paving the M.K.T

In 2006, Ted Curtis, the senior planner for Columbia’s Non-Motorized Grant Program, proposed to pave the MKT Spur of the Trail. While Curtis's proposal allows for the Trail to resist weather damage better and provides more recreational initiative for the Trail's use, many have protested the paving plan, claiming it would interfere with the enjoyment of nature and remove a major soft-surface path for runners. Curtis's response was to build spur trails that lead to creeks and other aspects of nature, and to leave a shoulder in the Trail for runners. [http://www.columbiamissourian.com/news/story.php?ID=22146]

External links

* [http://www.bikekatytrail.com/ Katy Trail maps, events, businesses, services, and more]
* [http://www.mostateparks.com/katytrail/index.html Official Missouri State Park guide to the Katy]
* [http://railstotrails.us/mo_katy_trail.htm The Katy Trail page at RailsToTrails.us]


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