People living on or near proposed Rail-Trail developments occasionally express legitimate concerns, which must be answered before development can proceed. Most often cited are worries over the potential for crime on the trail, trespassing and other property violations, illegal littering and dumping, and noise from recreational vehicles.
Of course crime and dumping can occur on a trail, as it can in any road, park or other public place. However it has been shown in case after case that these types of problems are more common in undeveloped, neglected, and uncared for properties. Once a trail is developed and put to good use, problems are reduced. It's in our best interest to improve this property and put it to good use.
As for the noise issue, motorized vehicles will be prohibited from using the Susquehanna River Rail-Trail, and barriers will be put in place to block access to vehicles.
Scenes of the MKT Trail in Columbia Missouri
The Susquehanna River Rail-Trail will pass near and even through the property of some local residents. On the otherhand, public roads do the same, and no one argues that roads should be closed. Several rail-trails, including the Dryden Lake trail which begins in Dryden NY, have sections that pass through private yards. Typically the property owners take advantage of the trail by incorporating it into their own landscaping. In Dryden, residents have planted bushes and maintain gardens along the trail. It would appear that the property owners enjoy having this resource nearby.
In some cases self-interest takes priority over the best interest of the community. For instance, in cases where a trail right-of-way passes through a resident's property, the resident may wish to acquire the right-of-way for personal use. In other cases developers and other interests may consider the trail property to be a potential source of revenue. In these cases, the community must decide the best use for the trail property.
It should be understood that the entire property currently belongs to the Canadian Pacific Railroad. Ownership will not automatically revert back to adjoining property owners, and the railroad intends to sell the property intact.
We have found numerous references to the positive benefits of developing abandoned rail beds into rail-trail projects, and wish to make a few of them available here.