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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Writer: Trails have positive impacts on communities

  • Controversy always seems to ensue when rail trails are initially developed. Trail opponents recite a series of flimsy arguments in opposition, just as the trail opponents in McPherson County have recently done. They try to intimidate and bully trail supporters into giving up. That approach has worked to some degree in the pa...
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  • Controversy always seems to ensue when rail trails are initially developed. Trail opponents recite a series of flimsy arguments in opposition, just as the trail opponents in McPherson County have recently done. They try to intimidate and bully trail supporters into giving up.  That approach has worked to some degree in the past, but as more trails are built and more people use them, the fallacy and motives behind those arguments and tactics become clear.
    While trail opponents claim trail developers are operating illegally, they refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of the trails and the legal rights trail developers have. They place illegal fences across trail right of ways, blocking access to the trail and falsely claim the trail is “trespassing” on their property.
    Trail opponents demand their property rights be protected while blatantly ignoring and abusing the trail owner’s property rights.
    Trails provide economic benefit to communities, provide healthy, safe places for families to bike, walk and ride horses. Communities with trails will tell you and studies confirm, that crime, vandalism, litter, and other hazards opponents cite seldom occur. Trail opponents bring up these issues to instill fear and are not based on the reality surrounding trails.
    I would encourage the McPherson County Commissioners to educate themselves on the benefits of trails and their positive impact on communities. Commissioners should view The Central Kansas Conservancy’s efforts to develop the trail as a free public recreational enhancement not created at taxpayer expense.
    Something to be promoted, encouraged and enjoyed by all.
    — Doug Walker, vice president, Kanza Rail Trail Conservancy Inc.

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