Trail Ramblings: The Latest On The MoPac Gap.

As you may recall, the MoPac trail is part of the Great American Rail Trail, which stretches from coast to coast. The MoPac gap from the Platte River Bridge (re-opened as a bicycle and pedestrian bridge in 2002) to Wabash has been a crucial, unfinished link since the abandoned Missouri Pacific railway corridor was purchased by trail advocates for the Great Plains Trails Network in 1989. The trail will help Nebraska catch up with it’s neighbors in the area of bicycle tourism.

The route that gap 55 will take is currently up for discussion with a series of stake-holder meetings in Cass county this week. The Nebraska Examiner recently published “Meeting set to consider possible routes for gap in Omaha-to-Lincoln bike/hike trail.” From the article- “Any route and all ideas are on the table at this point,” said Will Inselman, a resources coordinator with the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District.

“Our goal is to engage the community early and often in the planning process for the trail,” he said. “This workshop series is our first step in making that happen – before any lines are drawn on a map.” 

“The State Legislature, two years ago, allocated $8.3 million to fill the gap with a trail at least 8 feet wide. Attempts to choose a route for the trail became controversial because proposals included crossing some lawns of farmsteads”.

The meetings are scheduled:

  • March 7, from noon to 1:30 p.m. or 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Round the Bend Steakhouse, 30801 E. Park Highway in South Bend.
  • March 12 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Elmwood-Murdock Junior/Senior High School, 300 Wyoming St., Murdock.
  • March 13 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Elmwood-Murdock Elementary School, 400 West F St., Elmwood.
  • March 14 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Grandpa’s Woods Golf Course, 5497 310th St., Murdock.

The Lower Platte South NRD is asking interested parties to RSVP if they plan to attend the meetings and to sign up for email updates on the progress of the route study.

Impact Estimates for the Great American Rail Trail through Nebraska

From Wabash the Great American takes the rest of the MoPac on into Lincoln. This creates a great opportunity to show off our bicycle amenities and increase our bicycle tourism. Those of us who are Warm Showers hosts are sure to be fielding more queries for overnight stays. Then it’s on city trails to Fallbrook. Here the work continues for the planners; spanning that gap to Valparaiso and the the Oak Creek Trail. The Oak Creek Trail takes riders as far as Brainard. Next we’re met with another mystery connection to Columbus. After the Columbus area trail, it’s on to the last unmapped stretch to Norfolk and the beginning of the Cowboy Trail. The Cowboy Trail is by far the longest section through Nebraska. Then, near Chadron, there’s the final question of how to get through the Nebraska National Forest, where I’m sure they’ll find a beautiful solution. Going North from that area to the Mickelson Trail in the Black Hills would have been a great route, but they decided against it and their mystery route continues on west to Wyoming, which has virtually no currently available trail to use.

From the RTC: “Nebraska’s Cowboy Trail offers an authentic Old West experience with friendly small towns and sweeping views of the High Plains and pristine prairie. At a whopping 219 miles, it’s already the third longest rail-trail in the country and yet has 100 more miles awaiting future development. With the stunning bridge over the Niobrara River and a wildlife-rich backdrop—including roaming bison, wild turkeys, elk and prairie dogs—this is a bucket-list trail for true adventurers.”

The “Great American” Route Through Nebraska (rails to Trails Conservancy)

“RTC’s route analysis defines the preferred route of the Great American Rail-Trail through Nebraska as 590 miles and 52% complete—comprising 307 existing trail miles and 283 gap miles. The Great American will be hosted by 24 existing trails through the state. Click the links below to view full trail descriptions on”

• Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge
• Burt Street Trail
• Turner Boulevard Trail
• Field Club Trail
• South Omaha Trail
• Keystone Trail
• West Papio Trail
• Walnut Creek Lake Trail
• MoPac Trail (Springfield)
• Platte River Connection
• MoPac East Trail
• MoPac Trail West

• Antelope Valley Trail
• Salt Creek Levee Trail
• Oak Lake Connector Trail
• North 1st Street Trail
• Superior Street Trail
• Highlands Trail
• Oak Creek Trail
• Third Avenue Viaduct Trail
• Robert White Trail
• Bob Lake Trail
• Cowboy Recreation and Nature Trail
• White River Trail

1 thought on “Trail Ramblings: The Latest On The MoPac Gap.

  1. Steven

    You really cover a lot of territory in this blog! Thanks for putting it together.

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