Rails To Trails
Counties See Results From KNRC Rails/Trails Accountability Program
In Spring, 2020 KNRC released its Rails-to-Trails Accountability Program for Local Governments (R2T). This new and innovative program – three years in the making – was developed as an on-the-ground tool for counties to monitor rail-trail projects and hold trail managers accountable for tax liabilities, invasive species control, insurance requirements, or access issues through a federal permit tracking and reporting system.
In June, 2020 KNRC member Clark County realized immediate results from adoption of the comprehensive KNRC R2T program. At issue in Clark County’s case was an insufficient Response by Sunflower Rails to Trails Conservancy (SRTC) to fire and erosion threats posed to the Angle Creek bridge from debris accumulations at an abandoned railroad trestle. Following several months and a limited response by SRTC, the Clark county commissioners elected to impose insurance and maintenance requirements upon SRTC to garner action to the threats and facilitate control of invasive plants along the rail-trail alignment.
Rather than meet obligations of their permit and the requirements imposed by Clark County, SRTC has elected to relinquish their federal NITU permit. If approved by the Surface Transportation Board, the Short Grass Prairie Trail (SGPT) will be removed from rail banking and once again be subject to abandonment or reversion to adjacent landholders.
Having been tested and proven effective, the KNRC Rails-to-Trails Accountability Program for Local Governments (R2T) program is available to county governments across the United States who wish to participate, monitor, and facilitate compliance from rail-trail managers with their with federal permits.