Advocacy Alert: Bill to allow ATVs on the Katy Trail moving forward in the Missouri House

State Representative Jay Houghton recently introduced a bill (HB 2047) that would allow ATVs and golf carts on Missouri’s statewide Katy Trail. The bill was received favorably in committee this week, and we expect the committee to vote to move the bill forward on Monday.

Allowing motorized vehicles on the Katy Trail would be extremely damaging to the trail itself, as well as to the enjoyable experience of walking, biking or rolling a wheelchair on the trail.

Please contact your Missouri State Representative to ask them to oppose this bill.

Many thanks to Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation, our partner on state policy, for their leadership in opposing this bill.

More details:

Bill summary

“This bill allows for the use of all-terrain vehicles and golf carts at a speed of 15 miles per hour or less by individuals who are disabled or 55 years of age or older on the Katy Trail on the first and third Wednesday of each month.”

Trail accessibility

We absolutely agree that the Katy Trail should be as accessible as possible to people with disabilities. In fact, this is already required by state and federal law.

  • Electric golf carts are already allowed on the Katy Trail for people with mobility disabilities (their use is currently minimal and does not require redesign of the trail)
  • The majority of the trail is accessible to people with disabilities, and State Parks provides accessibility information on each section of the trail
  • Electrically powered-mobility devices for people with disabilities such as motorized wheelchairs and scooters are allowed
  • State Parks already offers regular tram tours on the Katy Trail for anyone who wants to experience the trail without bicycling or walking
  • We don’t agree that being 55 years or older is itself a disability

Damaging the trail

The only real effect of this bill would be to allow people without disabilities who are over 55 to use ATVs and golf carts on the Katy Trail.

  • Katy Trail State Park has been designed specifically for walking and biking
  • The trail is not wide enough for two ATVs to pass each other. State Parks estimates that if this bill were to pass, it would cost the state $40 million to widen the trail, as well as additional annual costs for staffing and maintenance
  • Allowing regular use of motorized vehicles would damage the trail surface

Damaging the trail experience

  • Many people walking, biking or using a wheelchair do not feel safe on roads and choose to use the Katy Trail exactly because it is free of motorized vehicles
  • Missouri was recently named the “Best Trails State,” in large part because of the 237-mile Katy Trail
  • The Katy Trail is the the nation’s longest rails-to-trails project  and draws tourists from around the world
  • The trail generates an 18:1 return-on-investment to the Missouri economy through trail tourism, and has revitalized many small rural towns

Thank you for your help in advocating to your state legislators to keep walking, biking and wheeling safe and enjoyable.