144-mile hiking and biking trail in Missouri’s near future

A 144-mile stretch of a former railroad line is expected to be transferred to the state by the end of next year for use as a hiking and biking trail, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said December 20, 2016.

Nixon was at Ameren headquarters in St. Louis to announce details of plans to develop the former Rock Island rail line from Windsor, in western Missouri, to Beaufort, about 60 miles southwest of St. Louis. Ameren purchased the rail line in 1999. It has not been used for railroad purposes for more than two decades.

“This new trail will bolster Missouri’s position as [one of] the nation’s premier hiking and biking destination[s] — and strengthen local economies all along its path,” Nixon said.

Ameren Missouri President Michael Moehn said the utility company has been working for years to clear the path of vegetation and taking other measures necessary before transferring the former rail line to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources by 2017.

Use of old rail lines for trails has become increasingly popular since development of Missouri’s Katy Trail State Park nearly three decades ago.

Earlier this month, a 47.5-mile stretch was added to the Katy Trail, expanding it to Pleasant Hill, near Kansas City. The extension means the Katy Trail that starts in St. Charles County, near St. Louis, is nearly 290 miles long.



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