Metro’s historic frontier trails to be developed for hikers and cyclists

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RAYTOWN, Mo. -- A piece of metro history is coming back to life.

The series of frontier-era trails that stretch across state lines are being re-developed and connected with hobby hikers and bicyclists in mind.

There could soon be new riders on these old trails. A trio of the nation's most historic trails, known collectively as the Three Trails Corridor, are being extended and connected to accommodate 21st century users, who might access them for leisure time and exercise.

46 miles of backwood trails extend throughout the metro. Local historian Larry Short, who serves as director of the Santa Fe Trail Association. gave our FOX 4 News crew a tour of the Cave Spring Trails area of Raytown.

The metro includes three major trails -- the Santa Fe, the Oregon and the California Trails, which short intends to connect and designate with new signs. Short's organization recently received a $60,000 grant from the U.S. National Parks Service.

"If you want to go to Johnson County, you can get on over there, and you'll be able to ride to Independence, Missouri. If you're in Independence, you can ride the trails to Westport," Short explained. "It's going to interconnect this whole area with the trails across the country."

Short forsees this as a potential tourist destination, where day trippers would use the trails for hikes and riding bicycles.

"You've got hikers and bikers who will use these trails. Some of them will want bed & breakfasts to stay overnight. That's going to bring added tourism into the city," Short said.

The Cave Spring area has 39 acres of trails in its own right, and is a popular destination for local hikers and school field trips.

Short says all that's needed to complete this endeavor is the endorsement of local city councils, and the installation of signs, which are already paid for.