Darwin Hindman - Columbia, MO
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
N 38° 53.443 W 092° 27.016
15S E 547675 N 4304793
Darwin Hindman and Edward Jones, were the driving force to create this magnificent park, and this honors Mr. Hindman.
Waymark Code: WM16XK1
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 10/25/2022
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member Geo Ferret
Views: 1

County of marker: Boone County
Location of trailhead: Gravel county road, Katy Trail State Park, Hindman Junction
Site erected by: Missouri Department of Natural Resources & City of Columbia Parks and Recreation

Marker Text:

"Father of the Katy Trail"

Darwin A. Hindman, Jr. (1933-2019)

Darwin Hindman became known as "Father of the Katy Trail" because he passionately embraced the rails-to-trails concept and was remarkably tenacious, overcoming a wall of obstacles from government and private groups to create the gift of the Katy Trail State Park.

A "free-range" kid, Darwin grew up in Columbia and his playground included the active MKT railroad which ran through his neighborhood.

The Katy Trail Coalition

In 1986, while working as an attorney in Columbia, Hindman became the founding chairperson of the Katy Trail Coalition. The goal of the organization was to convert the recently abandoned 240-mile Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad corridor into a state park and the longest hiking and biking trail in the nation at the time.

Section 8d of the National Trails System Act, adopted by Congress three years earlier, created an opportunity to preserve public access through a legal process known as "rail-banking." The legislation required the State Governor to request a "Certificate of Interim Trail Use" from the federal government. However, in Missouri, many rural voters did not support opening up the corridor for public access.

To help win the support of Governor John Ashcroft, Hindman recruited businessman Edward D. (Ted) Jones, Jr. During their meting with the Governor, Jones pledged $100,00 in seed money for the purchase and conversion of the corridor. Ashcroft was impressed and soon agreed to support the project, but only of the State Legislature demonstrated its support by approving an initial budget appropriation.

The 1987 State Legislature Session

To satisfy Federal rules, the State had just 180 days to reach agreement with the railroad company, meaning the appropriation had to be included in the 1987 budget.

Hindman and Jones traveled the state to meet with landowners, agricultural interests, and legislators. They listened respectfully to objections, and responded with compelling arguments about the benefits the trail would bring to rural Missouri. They did not convince everyone, but the allayed fears and blunted much of the opposition.

The details of the final act read like a suspense novel. After months of intense lobbying and with the Governor involved, the budget appropriation passed by a single vote after midnight on the last day of the session.

Katy Trail State Park

The first section of the Katy Trail State Park opened on April 28, 1990. The trail immediately became a popular attraction, returning substantial economic benefits as Hindman and allies predicted. Ted Jones and his wife Pat donated a total of $2.2 million for acquisition and initial construction, thereby overcoming the primary funding obstacles.

Darwin Hindman's pioneering achievements in Missouri and his testimony before U.S. Congressional committees led to the success of the national rails-to-trails movement. He possessed a rare personal charm and was admired by allies and opponents alike. Many who tried to block the Katy Trail in the 1980s later became its most ardent supporters.

"Without Darwin Hindman, there would have been no Katy Trail. Without the Katy Trail, there would have been no national rail-to-trail movement."
Marianne Wesley Fowler, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

Web link: [Web Link]

History of Mark:
Once, a friend asked Darwin Hindman how he tolerated Columbia City Council meetings that stretched past midnight.

“I’m really interested to hear what people have to say,” the friend, Chip Cooper, recalled him saying.

Hindman, Columbia’s longest-serving mayor, died early Monday at 86. He’d suffered from pulmonary fibrosis for the past couple of years, carrying around an oxygen tank, his wife, Axie, said.

Hindman was also instrumental in creating Stephens Lake Park, and he pushed to establish the statewide Katy Trail — so much so the Boone County Historical Society called him “The Father of the Katy Trail.”

"An avid bicyclist, he helped Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond secure $22 million in federal grants to promote cycling and walking. He served as a chairman for a foundation dedicated to extending the Katy Trail to Kansas City." ~ Columbia Missourian

Additional point: Not Listed

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