April 4, 2024, a significant groundbreaking event took place in Owensville, Missouri, marking additional progress of the development of the Rock Island Trail State Park. The event was attended by approximately 150 people, including key figures such as Rep. Bruce Sassmann, DNR Director Dru Buntin, State Parks Director David Kelly, SP Trail Development Manager Ron Bentch, and SP Construction Manager Clint Barnett.

Chrysa Niewald, the current Secretary of the Friends of Rock Island Trail State Park and a long-time trail supporter, was honored for her contributions to the development of the Rock Island Trail. The team aims to complete the seven-mile Owensville segment by fall.

Archer Elgin Engineering of Rolla and the Meramec Regional Planning Commission were acknowledged for their invaluable planning and assistance on the project.

Progress is also being made on other segments of the trail. Gerald’s one-mile trail segment is nearing completion, and Belle, having been awarded a grant, is soon to schedule a ceremony. Similar plans are in place for Eldon, Versailles, and Cole Camp.

Upon completion, the Rock Island Trail will stretch 205 miles from Pleasant Hill near Kansas City to Union, closer to St. Louis, making it the fourth-longest rail-trail in the nation. It will also form a loop with the longest rail-trail, the 240-mile Katy Trail.

For more information, you can visit the official website of the Rock Island Trail State Park at https://mostateparks.com/park/rock-island-trail-state-park .  Information, updates, and how to support of the development of the Rock Island Trail State Park can be found at www.rockislandtrail.org.