A guided hike on the Katy Trail this morning was still scheduled as of Friday, but that's because it's away from the many flooded areas of the trail — damage to which will not be known until the floodwaters recede more.
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Melanie Robinson-Smith said an interpretive hike hosted by Missouri State Parks from 10-11:30 a.m. this morning will be on a section of the Katy Trail near the Missouri State Fair grounds in Sedalia. The trailhead is off Clarendon Road, at trail mile marker 229.9.
Robinson-Smith is the deputy regional director of the Northern Region for Missouri State Parks, and is the Katy Trail coordinator.
As of Thursday, more than 90 miles of the Katy Trail were closed until further notice because of flooding, according to State Parks information on the Missouri State Parks website.
The longest continuous section closed because of flooding — nearly 59 miles — is also the most local to Jefferson City, with the trail closed from McBaine in Boone County to Bluffton in Montgomery County. On the trail, that's from mile markers 110.9-169.5 that are closed in that stretch.
State Parks also advises visitors to certain other areas of the trail that are open to still exercise caution because of conditions such as mud, flood debris, rough surfaces from rainfall, washouts, standing water and a rock slide.
Robinson-Smith said minor flooding often happens on the trail, so State Parks knows what kind of damage to expect, but the only flooding in the past that she said can really compare to the current inundation of the Katy Trail is the Flood of 1993.
"I really don't have any damage assessment at this point," she said.
That's because while "we have been able to assess a few locations," the water is still receding in most other places, she said.
She said once the water does recede, there will be damage such as scour holes and washed-out trail sections, as well as debris that needs to be cleaned up.
"We'll have to take a really hard look at all our bridge structures," to make sure those are still safely usable, she said.
"There'll be quite a few things that we're looking at," and inspections to be done before cleanup, she added.