Rails-to-Trails in Kansas – Understanding the interplay of state and federal law when converting abandoned railroad rights-of-way to public recreational trails


This webinar will walk through the federal program that authorizes the conversion of abandoned railroad rights-of-way into public recreational trails. Meghan S. Largent will look at the federal courts’ interpretation of the National Trails System Act Amendments of 1983 and how, in certain circumstances, the federal law violates the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution which holds, “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” She will focus specifically on Kansas state law and how the federal law often works to preempt Kansas law that would otherwise direct that the land underneath abandoned railroad rights-of-way be returned to the full use and enjoyment of the adjoining property owner. Finally, the program will address the remedies to landowners who find themselves affected by a federally authorized rail-trail conversion.