The first segment of the Blue River Rail Trail recently opened in Marysville, Kansas. This rail-to-trail conversion project, which has been in the planning stage for years, is now open from Marysville north about two miles.
The trail is built on the railbanked right-of-way of the Beatrice Branch line of the Union Pacific Railway, and will eventually stretch north 12 miles to the Nebraska state line, where it will connect with that state’s Homestead Trail, which runs through Beatrice to Lincoln, where it connects with the Mopac Trail east to Omaha and beyond (see graphic). The total distance between Marysville and Lincoln will be approximately 68 miles.
The initial segment of the trail was built by private donations plus funds from a $14,686 grant from the Sunflower Foundation. The next steps include a link to downtown Marysville through the old Union Pacific rail yard, and advancing the trail further north to the town of Marietta, then beyond to Nebraska, where the Homestead Trail is being expanded southward to meet it at the state line.
The trail is 10 feet wide and surfaced with crushed limestone screenings over the original railbed. The trail runs along the banks of the scenic Blue River, which offers a lush natural environment with abundant wildlife and birds to enjoy. The trail also has a small covered, red-roofed bridge over a small creek, which was built by a local volunteer group, Marshall County Connections. “It’s kind of a fun surprise when you come around the corner and there it is,” said board member Maureen Crist.
Judging from the local newspaper, the community is enthused about the new trail: Railbed project is exciting prospect:
A pedestrian and bike path on the former Union Pacific railbed from the Pony Express sculpture park downtown to City Park would continue to build on Marysville’s image as an inviting place to visit and live.
What a pleasant place to take a walk after shopping or eating downtown. What an attractive setting this could be for Marysville’s new farmers market and what a great walkway for our senior citizens going to and from the Helvering Community Center. What a boon this could pose for our quality of life.
Photo courtesy the Marysville Advocate.