Rails to Trails in Kansas

Recently, Miami County, Kansas successfully defended its right to require a maintenance bond and impose other restrictions on non-governmental operators of converted railroad lines. The federal “Rails to Trails” law spurred the development of abandoned railroads for recreational uses. Several states – Kansas among them – then enacted laws to further regulate the operation of those newly-created trails within their states. A private trail operator in Kansas objected to the additional regulations. The operator argued that, similar to railroads, the trails should be controlled only by federal laws as to maintenance and operations. The court disagreed, noting that the Rails to Trails Act is primarily concerned that a trail’s use does not conflict with the potential future use as a railroad. Private operators of rails-to-trails in Kansas will need to comply with the federal law, but also with the more stringent operational and maintenance standards of the Kansas Recreational Trails Act.

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Jack Hanrahan - November 11, 2011 1:37 PM

Michele, thanks for covering this.. I grew up in New England and going back there now in Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire there are many of these Private Recreational Railroad Trails and they seem to do quite well. They are very fun to take a trip on but it's good to know that maintenance and upkeep of equipment is being watched! Thank you! Jack Hanrahan First American Title

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