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

December 2020

This webinar walks through the federal program that authorizes the conversion of abandoned railroad rights-of-way into public recreational trails. Lewis Rice member Meghan S. Largent looks 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 focuses 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 addresses the remedies to landowners who find themselves affected by a federally authorized rail-trail conversion.

Members of Kansas Farm Bureau may click the link under "Resources" below to access the recording.

Meghan focuses her practice on representing landowners nationwide whose property has been taken by the federal government without just compensation. In addition to establishing when the government is liable for taking land, Meghan’s practice centers largely on establishing the value of the land taken.