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Missouri marks Katy Trail's 20th anniversary

The Katy Trail passes through St. Charles at Riverfront Park.
(KWMU file)
The Katy Trail passes through St. Charles at Riverfront Park.

By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri will mark the 20th anniversary of the Katy Trail State Park Saturday.

The park stretches along a 225-mile segment of the old MKT railroad line from St. Charles to Clinton.

The MKT rail line ceased operations in 1986. The Department of Natural Resources gradually acquired segments of the corridor and the rail line was converted to a limestone path for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Gerry Volgenau of Evergreen, Colorado, Karl Hellman of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Bill Baker of Ann Arbor are biking the entire length of the Katy Trail, from Clinton eastward. They talked to St. Louis Public Radio during a stop along the trail north of Jefferson City.

"The condition of the trail is almost uniformly excellent...there aren't many sandy parts or washouts, and it's a real pleasure to ride," Hellman said.

There are tentative plans to extend the Katy Trail eastward into downtown St. Louis and northwestward into downtown Kansas City, which Volgenau thinks is a great idea.

"It's a great trail, it's easy to ride, and it's mostly flat, which is pretty nice for people who don't like hills," Volgenau said.

Governor Jay Nixon will commemorate the Katy Trail's 20th anniversary Saturday in Rochesport by riding a short section of the trail, along with First Lady Georganne Wheeler Nixon and members of the public.