A recent letter in the McPherson Sentinel urges McPherson County Commissioners to “educate themselves on the benefits of trails and their positive impact on communities”.
I thought this was an excellent piece, and so I am reprinting it here, in full:
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 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.
It’s a shame that trail opponents feel the need to resort to such extreme and illegal tactics to obstruct what is so clearly a great public good. Let’s hope the McPherson County Commissioners, and the people of the communities along the trails, see through the lies and obfuscation, and enthusiastically support further trail development.
If you’d like to voice your support for trails in McPherson County, you can contact the McPherson County Commissioners or attend a Commission meeting (10am every Tuesday in McPherson).
You might suggest that they check with Allen County, which has not only approved development of the Southwind Rail Trail, but has actually partnered with trail group volunteers to build, manage and maintain the trail corridor. There’s no reason McPherson County couldn’t do the same.
Original article: Writer: Trails have positive impacts on communities, reprinted under a Creative Commons license.