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Your Opinion: Rock Island trail concerns need to be addressed

by Leslie Holloway, Missouri Farm Bureau director of regulatory affairs, Jefferson City | January 18, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. | Updated March 20, 2018 at 6:10 p.m.

A few clarifications are in order regarding the recent commentary "Showing the world the best trail experience." Many of the affected tracts of land were not taken in "fee simple," meaning not purchased for the railroad. For landowners on whose property railroad easements are located, deeds and state law would be pre-empted by federal law allowing the federal government to take the easements for trail use without consultation or even notification.

Led by railroad owner Ameren and the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a national trails advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., trail supporters are hardly "David without a slingshot." Long before landowners had knowledge of the proposal, trail advocates were in on the plan.

As indicated by several landowners in interviews reported by the News Tribune, a public trail running through someone's farm or yard changes their daily life. Loss of privacy and increased exposure to liability and security risks become constant worries. As state officials deliberate on the proposed Rock Island trail, these concerns need to be considered.

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