Representatives from the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation and Missouri Rock Island Trail, Inc. delivered 11,272 trail support letters to Ameren headquarters in St. Louis on Thursday, Aug. 14.

The letters are a result of efforts by both groups along with Rails to Trails Conservancy to demonstrate support for a railbanked trail on the inactive portion of the Rock Island rail corridor which runs from Beaufort to Windsor.

A subsidiary of Ameren currently owns the corridor, but has recently put it up for sale.

“Creating this new rail trail across Missouri will leave a legacy for Ameren, for Missouri State Parks, and for the Rock Island Communities across Missouri that will benefit our children and grandchildren for generations to come,” said Brent Hugh, executive director of the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation.

“Within the next few weeks and months, Ameren will take steps that will either preserve the corridor for future generations or lose it forever. Ameren, Missouri State Parks, and the communities involved are all working together to do the right thing to preserve the corridor for future generations. We want to let everyone involved know that there is strong community support for preserving the corridor as part of cross-state rail-trail system.”

A trail on the Rock Island Corridor will provide for a healthy environment and recreational opportunities, safe route to many local schools, a stimulus for community pride and economic development opportunities, encouragement for healthy living by walking and cycling and preservation of the corridor for future rail use if the need arises, noted MORIT President Chrysa Niewald.

Rails to Trails Conservancy submitted a proposal to Ameren to acquire the inactive portion of the Rock Island from Ameren in July. Ameren expects to make a decision on or around Aug. 31.