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Rock Island Trail

Old 04-21-18, 09:58 AM
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Rock Island Trail

Many articles explaining why the Rock Island Trail in Missouri has stalled. I ride my bike through my own cattle and on these back country gravel roads I negotiated around various livestock and when Iím riding by a cornfield The last thing on my mind is the steal some corn. Cattle might become psychological damage by bike riders seriously the Missouri governor opposes the trail any insight?
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Old 04-29-18, 06:43 PM
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I'm a big Katy fan. Have done it end-to-end a number of times.

Missourians aren't going to give up their land without a fight.
And to be honest, I think the farmers and landowners got screwed, big-time, with the Katy. It was written that if the Katy RR ever went out of business, then the corridor would go back to the landowners. Through legal finagling the Katy Trail was built to preserve the corridor just in case we ever need another RR, like to defend the country in time of war.
I mean, I'm ecstatic that the Katy is there to ride on but I think the farmers got reamed.
So I don't blame people for opposing the RI Trail.
Some people hate bikes.
It's too bad we can't all get along.
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Old 04-29-18, 07:15 PM
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The first time that I rode on the Rock Island out of Windsor, I was stopped by cattle on the trail! There were about a half dozen. Actually I'm sure that I could have walked through them, but I needed to get back to the Katy as I was riding it end-to-end.

I agree with sknhgy that the landowners got reamed by the Katy. They should have paid them what the land was worth.
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Old 04-29-18, 07:31 PM
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We're leaving on May 5 to ride the Katy, but were thinking of starting in Pleassant Hill and using the Rock Island until Windsor. Any advice, except for the obvious watching out for cowpies?
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Old 04-30-18, 11:41 AM
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Is the RI Trail open? If so I need to get down there and ride it.
Any places to camp and ride?
When I go to the website all I see is "proposed corridor" and "missing bridges".
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Old 04-30-18, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by sknhgy View Post
Is the RI Trail open? If so I need to get down there and ride it.
Any places to camp and ride?
When I go to the website all I see is "proposed corridor" and "missing bridges".
Try this web site especially the Forum section.
Katy Trail Missouri Trail Maps, Businesses, Events, Mileage, and more
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Old 05-01-18, 05:35 AM
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I plan on riding the Rock Island Spur from Plesant Hill to Windsor to catch the Katy. Last year I started in Clinton. I’m use to open range cattle and all the pies I understand the different viewpoints I’ve had river property ruined when the landowner across the river sold out and it became a park. The park owner said I will keep people off your property, yeah sure. The pristine fishery was ruined the cops where down there everyday because the people would never behave mainly due to alcohol. So I sold out and moved to a quiet place. Anyway I’m looking forward to my 2nd Katy ride this June.
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Old 05-01-18, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by sknhgy View Post
And to be honest, I think the farmers and landowners got screwed, big-time, with the Katy. It was written that if the Katy RR ever went out of business, then the corridor would go back to the landowners. Through legal finagling the Katy Trail was built to preserve the corridor just in case we ever need another RR, like to defend the country in time of war.
I mean, I'm ecstatic that the Katy is there to ride on but I think the farmers got reamed.
Wish you had some detail/sources because too many people believe that all railroads only hold easements and/or right of ways that revert upon the abandonment of a line. Simply not the case. Also, the line was probably "railbanked," the constitutionality of which has been upheld. If it was, the adjacent landowners did get reamed any more than the adjacent landowners of other abandoned lines that have been railbanked.
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Old 05-15-18, 06:58 AM
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We rode on the Rock Island Trail last week from Chilhowee to Windsor then on the KT from Windsor to Sedalia (and eventually St. Charles).


P1030797
by Steve Carter, on Flickr


The RI Spur was in excellent condition, and we didn't notice any glaring farmers along the way; in fact, we were hugely impressed with the friendliness of the people throughout our trip. Our ride along the RI/KT trails certainly transformed our view of Missouri. It's a beautiful state, with much more to see than Branson, Kansas City, St. Louis or the wretched I-70 corridor. We even came across several Roadside Turtles, something you don't see in Colorado:

P1030827

by Steve Carter, on Flickr

As far as the other part of this thread, the nature of the grant to the railroads varies depending on the date of the patent. The impact to agriculture lands and residential neighborhoods from cyclists is a heck of a lot less than an operating Class I railroad. I can understand why some of them might be huffy about the fact that they didn't get the free land they might have expected after the railroad was abandoned, but I'll bet no landowner buys a farm adjoining a railroad with the expectation that the railroad will go away and their acreage will increase dramatically.

Anyway, the people of Missouri have something to be proud of.
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Old 05-15-18, 01:43 PM
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This should be interesting. I rode the Katy from East to West last year, and remember the closure, and wishing they'd resolve things. I'll be going back the other way, this year, so this looks good. 🙂
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Old 05-16-18, 01:13 PM
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Interesting discussion, I've never seen rail lines reverted back to any landowners. Many abandoned lines in MO just set there and nothing ever happens. You won't have any issues on either trail if you obey the no trespassing rules. Rode the Katy west to east last year and next month riding west to east, hoping to ride the spurs also including the Rock Island.
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Old 05-16-18, 02:20 PM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by Hondo Gravel View Post
Many articles explaining why the Rock Island Trail in Missouri has stalled. I ride my bike through my own cattle and on these back country gravel roads I negotiated around various livestock and when Iím riding by a cornfield The last thing on my mind is the steal some corn. Cattle might become psychological damage by bike riders seriously the Missouri governor opposes the trail any insight?
The Governor has other issues on his mind at the moment.

There are two primary issues with the RIT: property rights and funding.

The 2nd issue is more straightforward. The previous Governor left the state owing money, and completing the trail is an expensive project. Compared to schools, healthcare, transportation funding, etc., another recreational area is low on teh priority list.

Property rights get complicated in a hurry. There are real issues with easements, fencing, security, etc. A good Google can fill you in on these issues in far more detail than is appropriate here, but these aren't simple issues, even for people who want and support the trail.

Finally, I think its great that you ride your bike through your own cattle. But that doesn't mean every cattle producer is OK with complete strangers being on their property, around their equipment, or exposed to their livestock. the liability issues are real, to say nothing of privacy, biosecurity, and compliance with existing health ordinances and livestock regulations.

There are real issues involved, and it is worth noting that while the Katy has been an economic success, there were definite growing pains, and that success came at the expense of private landowners.

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Old 05-16-18, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by esmith2039 View Post
Interesting discussion, I've never seen rail lines reverted back to any landowners.
You just haven't looked in the right places. My office sits on an abandoned railroad, and I own farms that were split by the railroad and them made whole again when the railroad abandoned.
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Old 05-19-18, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by k0guz View Post
We're leaving on May 5 to ride the Katy, but were thinking of starting in Pleassant Hill and using the Rock Island until Windsor. Any advice, except for the obvious watching out for cowpies?

How was youíre ride on The Katy? Share some thoughts about the adventure.
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Old 05-20-18, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by bbbean View Post
The Governor has other issues on his mind at the moment.

There are two primary issues with the RIT: property rights and funding.

The 2nd issue is more straightforward. The previous Governor left the state owing money, and completing the trail is an expensive project. Compared to schools, healthcare, transportation funding, etc., another recreational area is low on teh priority list.

Property rights get complicated in a hurry. There are real issues with easements, fencing, security, etc. A good Google can fill you in on these issues in far more detail than is appropriate here, but these aren't simple issues, even for people who want and support the trail.

Finally, I think its great that you ride your bike through your own cattle. But that doesn't mean every cattle producer is OK with complete strangers being on their property, around their equipment, or exposed to their livestock. the liability issues are real, to say nothing of privacy, biosecurity, and compliance with existing health ordinances and livestock regulations.

There are real issues involved, and it is worth noting that while the Katy has been an economic success, there were definite growing pains, and that success came at the expense of private landowners.

BB
Your governor is the source of endless amusement for us nonresidents. And there appear to be a couple of detours even on the Katy Trail where adjoining landowners snapped up the right of way before Jones could buy it (as in Rhineland, and the stadium in St. Charles). <rant on> It is indeed fortunate that the Katy Trail was built during a period when people were willing to pay for long term public improvements instead of impoverishing the treasury with worthless tax cuts for people who don't need them. </rant off>

Anyway, I thank the visionaries of 25 years ago who had the foresight to preserve and protect this resource. I'm writing a blog entry on our trip, and will post the link in a day or two.
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Old 10-27-18, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Hondo Gravel View Post



How was youíre ride on The Katy? Share some thoughts about the adventure.
Sorry, I forgot to post a link to my blog about the trip. Both the Katy Trail and Rock Island Extension were great. Here's a link to my blog.
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Old 10-27-18, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Wish you had some detail/sources because too many people believe that all railroads only hold easements and/or right of ways that revert upon the abandonment of a line. Simply not the case. Also, the line was probably "railbanked," the constitutionality of which has been upheld. If it was, the adjacent landowners did get reamed any more than the adjacent landowners of other abandoned lines that have been railbanked.
+1
This is generally how it works.
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Old 10-28-18, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
+1
This is generally how it works.
A month or so after I made that post I was riding a portion of the former Milwaukee Road right-of-way west of Alberton, MT. I opted for it to try to avoid some miles on I-90. When I planned my route I had no idea if it was an official trail or not, but I could clearly see the "scar" of the former rail line on Google Map satellite view. Turned out it part of it is. It's managed by the state. I was moving along nicely, but with about only 1 mile left I came to an high, metal fence. There was no way around, and I wasn't going to trespass even if there was. Seems the a landowner had reclaimed the right-of-way. No way to tell if it had reverted as a matter of law, or wether he acquired it by deed when the Milwaukee Road went bankrupt and that line was abandoned. I was forced to backtrack and take I-90.

Other portions of that day's route followed that same line. In several places I could see where land owners were occupying the former right-of-way with things like sheds. The line would have made a great trail (West of St. Regis, MT it is. The Olympian Trail, which turns into the Route of the Hiawatha Trail), but the corridor in that area has been broken up, and some bridges have been removed.

This is a screen shot f Street View just east of St. Regis. I have concluded that this is another section of the same abandoned line that has been reclaimed by private landowners and is used as a private road.

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Old 10-28-18, 02:33 PM
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Interesting. I am presently serving on a committee that is currently overseeing the construction of a local Rail to Trail and I have served on another committee that developed a R2T. It's amazing the red tape one must go thru in order to get these established. On the one rail line, just trying to determine who owned what, was a nightmare since many of these small parcels had changed hands so frequently over the decades and record keeping was so poor. We found landowners that claimed rights but through legal discovery proved that they indeed did not own the land (needless to say they were not happy). On one trail, we spent 10 years gaining access and just before we could get the rail line officially railbanked, a small coal mine opened up only a few miles from the line and so the controlling railroad reneged and pulled their permission in case they could re-establish the line for profitable use. The line was in no condition to be used again without major work and cost and the mine only remained open for about 6 years, but it set the R2T conversion back decades.
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Old 10-29-18, 07:38 AM
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Every state's laws are different, which makes it dangerous to generalize about what happens when a railroad is abandoned. Before retiring, I practiced law, and dealt with these issues for my clients, but my knowledge is limited to Colorado law, and the only two railroads in our area, the Colorado Midland and the Denver & Rio Grande Western. Some of the railroad rights of way were direct government patents, some were purchased rights of way, the terms of which were negotiated with the landowner. Some specified that the title remained with the railroad company upon abandonment, sometimes it vested in the adjoining property owners, sometimes it just sat there. More often than not, when a stretch was abandoned, the adjoining property owners put up fences and/or barriers where they wanted to establish the property line and hoped that they could acquire title by adverse possession after 18 years. I suspect that's what happened in the photo of the old Milwaukee right of way above. The property owner may well have decided that he wanted it to be a private road, so he put up a sign without legal justification. But it is pretty intimidating... Sort of like planting a flag and claiming the land in the name of the King... In many ways, property ownership law is like a Chinese puzzle, and can be fascinating although time consuming.

The Katy Trail may have been unique, because Mr. Edwards purchased the entire right of way to Sedalia, and the State of Missouri was foresighted enough to accept his gift, so there was no question about who owned it when the rails were torn up. The Union Pacific donated the portion from Sedalia to Clinton to the state, and once again, they accepted it. Some really far sighted people there!

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Old 10-29-18, 08:00 AM
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Yep. Laws to differ. I work for a railroad and occasionally have issues regarding what, if anything, has happened with title to an abandoned line. Quality of title varies as much as state laws do. For example, under MI law, if a railroad is granted a right-of-way for railroad purposes and for no other purpose, courts have held that, absent express reverter/divestiture language in the deed, the railroad has received fee title that it retains even after abandonment.

One note about the photo above: What you can't see is that west of where the private road begins, the road is paved and public. There is actually a sign just before the gates that notes that county road maintenance ends. Earlier in the day I passed through a town called Cyr. Just west of there, the old Milwaukee Road right-of-way turns into a street for a while then curves south and follows the Clark For River for a while. It was another area where I opted for a short stretch of I-90. Satellite images showed at least one structure in the middle of the former right-of-way, which suggested more private road. I may be out that way again next year. If I am, I may check it out since I will have a shorter day and thus a little more time to explore.
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