UACES Facebook NALC webinar will discuss legal issues involved in Rail-to-Trail conversions
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NALC webinar will discuss legal issues involved in Rail-to-Trail conversions

“The Trails Act presents landowners and other parties with numerous legal issues, all of which can be difficult to navigate." — Meghan S. Largent

By Tru Joi Curtis
National Agricultural Law Center
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Jan. 4, 2024

Fast facts:

  • NALC webinar on Jan.17 will focus on the National Trails System Act
  • Lindsay S. C. Brinton, Meghan S. Largent of Lewis Rice are presenting
  • Registration is online

(418 words)

Download related photos of Largent, Brinton

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Since the establishment of the National Trails System Act in 1968, current usage of railroad rights-of-way has been transformed by the federal law enabling rail-to-trail conversion including railbanking and interim trail use.

Jan. 17, 2024 National Ag Law Center Webinar Presenters
Lewis Rice Members Lindsay Brinton and Meghan Largent will discuss federal Rail-to-Trail conversions during the National Ag Law Center webinar on Jan. 17. 

Railbanking is an agreement between a trail sponsor and railroad company to use a rail corridor that is not in service as a trail until the corridor might be used again for rail service.

“The provision of the Trails Act that authorizes Rails-to-Trails followed a long history of concern regarding the loss of the important national transportation resource of rail corridors,” Lewis Rice Member Meghan S. Largent said. “The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution provides landowners whose property becomes subject to a rail-trail conversion to be compensated for hosting these trails through their family’s farms, homes, or businesses.”

Nationally, there are more than 2,400 rail-trails with 25,710 miles of recreational-use track, according to the Rails to Trails Conservancy. Arkansas has 22 rail-trails offering 100 miles of hiking. The longest single rail trail in the country is Katy Trail State Park in Missouri which covers 240 miles along a former corridor for the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, known as the MKT or “Katy.”

How do rail-to-trail conversions work?

During an upcoming National Agricultural Law Center webinar, Largent and fellow Lewis Rice Member Lindsay S. C. Brinton will discuss the process for federal rail-to-trail conversions under the Trails Act, the related process in the federal Surface Transportation Board, related Fifth Amendment litigation in the United States Court of Federal Claims and landowners’ rights for compensation.

The webinar, “An Overview of Landowners’ Rights in Federal Rail-to-Trail Conversions,” will be held Wednesday, Jan. 17, at 11 a.m. Central/noon Eastern.

“The Trails Act presents landowners and other parties with numerous legal issues, all of which can be difficult to navigate,” Largent said. “Lindsay and I are looking forward to discussing this topic, sharing information and answering questions regarding the Trails Act.”

The webinar is free of charge and registration is online.

“We are thrilled to have Lindsay and Meghan discuss federal rail-to-trail provisions during our webinar,” NALC Director Harrison Pittman said. “Landowners and others around the country involved in this issue will benefit greatly from the knowledge that they provide.”

For information about the National Agricultural Law Center, visit or follow @Nataglaw on X. The National Agricultural Law Center is also on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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About the National Agricultural Law Center

The National Agricultural Law Center serves as the nation’s leading source of agricultural and food law research and information. The NALC works with producers, state and federal policymakers, Congressional staffers, attorneys, land grant universities, and many others to provide objective, nonpartisan agricultural and food law research and information to the nation’s agricultural community.

The NALC is a unit of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and works in close partnership with the USDA Agricultural Research Service, National Agricultural Library.

About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. The Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service.

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

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Media contact:
Drew Viguet      
Communications & Special Projects Coordinator
National Agricultural Law Center