Brian and Sharon Snyder
To the editor:
Our pioneer trails history is all around us
Independence is the epicenter of our nation’s trails history, and that history is all around us. We still have a few buildings and roadbeds connected to that trails history that you can still see today. Most of those buildings and sites are around the Square.
The paths and ruts that once guided covered wagons became lines on maps, boundary lines on surveys, and eventually became roadways and sidewalks for cars, bicycles and pedestrians. This rich pioneer trail history, which is important to the nation, deserves to be recognized and respected.
The Oregon-California Trails Association, whose national headquarters are located at the National Frontier Trails Museum, has been working with the National Park Service - National Trails System to mark the trails with approximately 50 street signs here in Independence. This represents a collaborative effort and partnership with local and federal governments and OCTA to mark the trails from Sugar Creek, Independence and Raytown into South Kansas City.
The placement of these signs is one more step toward the establishment of heritage corridors that connect trail sites, starting at the Wayne City riverboat landing in Sugar Creek and leading to the Independence Square, then on to our neighboring communities. These corridors can be developed for opportunities with recreational biking/hiking, heritage education and economic development.
Many thanks to Travis Boley, association manager of OCTA, for implementing and coordinating this multi-city project, and to Council Member Eileen Weir for her local leadership with this effort and recognition of the importance of heritage preservation as a tool for tourism, economic development, and the education of our rich trails history for citizens of Independence and the nation.