Through private, voluntary land protection, the Katy Land Trust seeks to preserve the lands in and around the Katy Trail region. The Katy Land Trust works with local landowners to support their personal goals for their land, and seeks community support in preserving the cherished lands we love. Take a moment to read the highlights of our accomplishments in 2016 and learn more about this extraordinary region and how you can be part of the Katy Land Trust.
The Katy region is rich in resources, history, and proud traditions. Here are some of the highlights of why this area is so unique.
THE KATY TRAIL
Katy Trail Cyclists In the early 1980s, Edward D. (Ted) Jones of Williamsburg, Missouri experienced a bike ride on a “rails-to trails” project in Wisconsin. Inspired, Ted thought that Missouri and Missourians would greatly benefit from a similar project. What is now the Katy Trail was at that time the abandoned KATY railroad, complete with rails and ties. Over the next several years, Ted and his wife Pat worked with local, state and national organizations — both corporate and governmental — to begin the creation of the Katy Trail. His personal generosity and perseverance ultimately resulted in the opening of the Trail at Rocheport in the spring of 1990.
Today, the 225-mile Katy Trail State Park gives all of us an opportunity to enjoy the natural scenic beauty of the Missouri countryside. The Trail currently stands as the longest rails-to-trails project in the United States.
THE CENTRAL MISSOURI RIVER VALLEY
Missouri River Bluff The Missouri River is the longest river in the United States, and winds its way across Missouri before ultimately joining the Mississippi in St. Louis. The Missouri River is vital to Missourians for a number of reasons:
- Drinking water. Over half of Missouri’s residents get their drinking water from the Missouri River and its tributaries. The lower Missouri River watershed is the second most important watershed in a seven-state area for protecting drinking water quality.
- Farming. The state of Missouri has the second-largest number of farms in the country, second only behind Texas. Not only are Missouri farms vital to our economy, the farms along the Katy trail help make the landscape as beautiful as it is.
- Fishing and hunting. The Missouri River has over 10 public access points for fishing and boating in the Katy region, and hosts prime sport fishing. In addition, three of the counties in the Katy region were on the top 10 list for number of deer harvested during the 2009 season.
- Bluffs. For thousands of years, the Missouri River has cut its way through limestone and sandstone rock, leading to the spectacular bluffs that can be found along much of the river’s edge in the Katy region. Not only are these bluffs attractive, but they form unique ecosystems and unique geological formations not found anywhere else.
- History. The Katy region of the Missouri River has long been an important place for Native Americans and settlers alike. Native American “petroglyphs” – rock drawings – lined many of the bluffs between Rocheport and Jefferson City, suggesting a ritual or spiritual connection to the region. Lewis and Clark and Daniel Boone are among the many others that have trekked this way, and monuments and trail markers attest to their achievements here.
THE “MISSOURI RHINELAND”
Missouri River Winery Ever since the 19th Century, the Missouri River Valley has been known as an excellent climate to make wine. A wave of German immigration, beginning in the 1830’s, resulted in the establishment of a thriving wine culture. By the time Prohibition shut down legal alcohol production almost a century later, Missouri had climbed to number two in wine production in the entire country. Since the 1960’s, a resurgence of interest in local vineyards has led to a renaissance in the wine trade in Missouri, and has produced several microbreweries in the region as well. Combined with the interest in the Katy Trail, tourism is now a significant part of the local economy along the river. Learn more about the Katy region by viewing our slideshow.