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The Rock Island Corridor battle: 'How would they like it if I built a trail through their backyard?'

COLE CAMP — It’s hard to know where to look first on Mark Chamberlin’s farm. Cows and dogs roam as workers sort through the freshly laid eggs and hurry between buildings to fix broken machinery.

Mark Chamberlin repairs a blown air hose on his truck

Mark Chamberlin repairs a blown air hose on his truck Tuesday in Cole Camp. “Somebody’s gotta crawl under here and do it,” Chamberlin said.

One thing easily missed is the Rock Island Corridor. On a cloudy afternoon, it blends in with the rest of the Chamberlin property.

Trees and shrubs are cleared along a section of the Rock Island Corridor that runs through Mark Chamberlin's land as shown

Trees and shrubs are cleared along a section of the Rock Island Corridor that runs through Mark Chamberlin's land as shown Saturday in Cole Camp. Chamberlin says if a bike trail is developed on the corridor he will need to add another irrigation system to his farm operation in order to prevent it from crossing the bike trail. 

An MFA Inc. fertilizer plant sits next to what was once the Rock Island Corridor on Saturday in Cole Camp. MFA Inc. used to unload fertilizer directly from the railroad, but now MFA Inc. mostly relies on trucks.

The Rock Island Trail would stretch 144 miles across Missouri from Windsor to Beaufort, connecting with the Katy Trail in Windsor. Many Missourians have strong opinions on the proposed trail. 

Haw Creek flows under an abandoned railroad bridge

Haw Creek flows under an abandoned railroad bridge Tuesday near Stover. This bridge is part of the Rock Island Corridor that is being considered for a new bike path.

A railroad bridge sits abandoned

A railroad bridge sits abandoned Tuesday near Stover. The Missouri Department of Natural Resource’s plan to develop a bike path along the Rock Island Corridor has caused concern for some land owners along the railroad.

Shrubbery encroaches on an abandoned elevator

Shrubbery encroaches on an abandoned elevator Saturday in Ionia. The Rock Island Corridor ran through this elevator when it was still in service.

An MFA Inc. fertilizer plant sits next to what was once the Rock Island Corridor

An MFA Inc. fertilizer plant sits next to what was once the Rock Island Corridor on Saturday in Cole Camp. MFA Inc. used to unload fertilizer directly from the railroad. 

Mark Chamberlin's dog Penny shakes rain off her coat

Mark Chamberlin’s dog Penny shakes rain off her coat Saturday in Cole Camp. Chamberlin owns 700 acres and leases another 700 acres for his 1,400 operation.

  • Molly Hart is an assistant city editor at the Missourian. She has previously reported on state government. She can be reached at mhart@mail.missouri.edu.

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