News Release 266

Katy Trail State Park anniversary will be May 8 at Rocheport

Volume 38-266 (For Immediate Release)
Contact: Sue Holst
573-751- 6510

JEFFERSON CITY, MO., MAY 3, 2010 -- The 20th anniversary of the nation's longest rail-trail conversion project will be celebrated May 8 at the Katy Trail State Park trailhead at Rocheport. The festivities will begin at 1 p.m. with the anniversary ceremony at 2 p.m., the Missouri Department of Natural Resources announced today.

Gov. Jay Nixon will be the keynote speaker for the event. A special honoree will be Pat Jones, who along with her late husband, Ted, gave the initial donation to make Katy Trail State Park possible. Other speakers will include Darwin Hindman, chairman of the Katy Trail Coalition; Norman Eaker, representing Edward Jones, the financial services firm that is the official sponsor of the 20th anniversary events; and Rep. Chris Kelly of Columbia. Bill Bryan, director of the Department of Natural Resources' Division of State Parks, will be the master of ceremonies.

The exhibit area opens at 1 p.m. with special displays from the communities along the 225-mile corridor of the trail from St. Charles to Clinton. Katy Trail merchandise will be on sale. A presentation on the history of Katy Trail State Park will be available in the Rocheport depot at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Following the ceremony at 2 p.m., participants are invited to walk to the Ted Jones Memorial on the trail. Darwin Hindman will lead a commemorative ride to Hindman Junction, which is 8.5 miles east at the intersection of the Katy Trail and the MKT Trail leading into Columbia. Riding with the bicyclists will be a group of Boy Scouts from various local troops.

The ceremony will also be the official kick-off of the Katy Trail Ticket Book Program. The program is designed to encourage people to visit every community along the Katy Trail corridor. The first 1,000 participants who collect a ticket book stamp for each community will receive a prize package that will include a 20th anniversary t-shirt and water bottle. Katy Trail ticket books will be available at the ceremony.

Music and refreshments will be available during the event. In conjunction with the ceremony, the community of Rocheport is planning musical entertainment and a car show.

Katy Trail State Park is built on the railbed of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, which ceased operations in 1986. The Department of Natural Resources made use of the National Trail System Act, which allowed railroad corridors no longer in use to be railbanked on an interim basis for recreational use. The first section of Katy Trail was dedicated on April 28, 1990 at Rocheport. The trail runs from St. Charles to Clinton, a distance of 225 miles. This summer, work will begin on extending the trail approximately 12 miles from St. Charles to Machens. Plans are also in progress to connect the Katy Trail at Windsor into Pleasant Hill using the Rock Island Railroad corridor.

Katy Trail was inducted into the national Rail-Trail Hall of Fame in 2008 by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. It is a segment of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail and the American Discovery Trail, and is a Millennium Legacy Trail.

For more information about Katy Trail State Park, visit katytrailstatepark.com or call the Department of Natural Resources toll free at 800-334-6946 (voice) or 800-379-2419 (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf).

###