Katy Trail State Park
The Katy Trail (red) and the Missouri River (blue) on a map of Missouri
|Length||237.7 mi (382.5 km)|
|Location||Missouri, United States|
|Use||Hiking, Cycling, Horseback|
|Highest point||Windsor, Missouri|
|Lowest point||St. Charles, Missouri|
|Sights||Missouri River, Manitou bluffs|
The Katy Trail State Park is a state park in the U.S. state of Missouri that contains the Katy Trail, a recreational rail trail that runs 240 miles (390 km) in the right-of-way of the former Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad. Running largely along the northern bank of the Missouri River, it is the country's longest Rails-to-Trails trail. The trail is open for use by hikers, joggers, and cyclists year-round, from sunrise to sunset. Its hard, flat surface is of "limestone pug" (crushed limestone).
The nickname "Katy" comes from the phonetic pronunciation of 'KT' in the railroad's abbreviated name, MKT. Sections of the Katy are also part of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail and the American Discovery Trail.
Conversion of right-of-way 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.
On October 4, 1986, floodwater from the Missouri River severely damaged the track along the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad's route from Sedalia to Machens, Missouri. The route had been washed out and repaired many times, but this time, railroad officials decided not to return the tracks to service. Trains were re-routed, and the right-of-way was to be abandoned. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources purchased the right-of-way with a donation from Edward D. "Ted" Jones and Pat Jones of Williamsburg and St. Louis. In 1990, the first segment of the trail officially opened in Rocheport.
The trail was initially planned for completion in 1994. However, the Great Flood of 1993 damaged 75 miles (121 km) of the original 126 miles (203 km) of the trail. The completed trail from St. Charles to Sedalia was finally opened in 1996; the section from Sedalia to Clinton opened in 1999.
In 2011. the trail was 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. A 2002 study by the Mid-America Regional Council lays out options, including a deal with AmerenUE to allow the use of its unused Rock Island Corridor rail line. Missouri Governor Matt Blunt 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. A settlement to this effect was reached in 2007, although no date has been given for project completion.
The Katy Trail currently begins at Machens (mile-marker 27) 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 169.9 (McBaine) the trail intersects the M.K.T. Trail 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 at mile-marker 264.6.
|Columbia||169.9 (via M.K.T. Trail)|
The MKT bridge at Boonville
The Katy Trail is part of the U.S. railbank, which means it must remain connected to the national railway network so that it could be returned to 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 under the Interim Trail Agreement of June 25, 1987. But on April 28, 2005, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources amended 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 Boonville. 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.
On February 4, 2010, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced that Union Pacific Railroad would give the bridge to the city of Boonville, MO, ending a nearly six-year dispute over the bridge and the trail. The city announced it would restore the bridge and incorporate it back into the Katy Trail bicycle and hiking trail.
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.
- "Trail History and Features at Katy Trail State Park". Retrieved 2012-05-04.
- "Katy Trail State Park". TrailLink.Com. Retrieved 2012-04-17.
- "Event marks Katy Trail's 20th anniversary". Columbia Missourian. 29 March 2010. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
- MKT Nature and Fitness Trail History
- Katy Trail State Park - General Information - Missouri State Parks and Historic Sites, MoDNR
- Schlinkmann, Mark (2 April 2011). "Long-delayed Katy Trail section reopens". St. Louis Post Dispatch. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
- "AmerenUE settlement includes money for Katy Trail". Joplin Independent. 29 November 2007. Retrieved 2 January 2009.
- "Quad-state trail system mapped--over 700 miles of trail linking MO, KS, NE, IA". Retrieved October 3, 2012.
- "Clinton Trailhead, MM 264.6". Katy Trail State Park. Missouri State Parks. Retrieved 2012-04-17.
- http://www.latimes.com/business/nationworld/wire/sns-ap-mo-katy-bridge,0,7399150.story. Missing or empty
- Berger, Eric (2010-02-05). "Missouri governor Nixon announces Katy Bridge will stay in Boonville". Boonville Daily News (Boonville, Missouri: GateHouse Media, Inc.).
- Missouri State Park guide to the Katy Trail
- The Katy Trail page at RailsToTrails.us
- Katy Trail Merchants & Communities