The arguments pro and con re: use of the ICF corridor continue, but to suggest that a walking trail is the best use is unadulterated crap. But so is an amusement type of rail service between two random points.
In my 43 years in the transport infrastructure industry, I was never able to win a case against the railways, who in most cases are senior to road-rail crossings in Canada. That said, the corridor’s future value is so high that ownership and right of usage cannot be economically justified to pass to low value user. Consider what is possible and why.
In a domain where land is king, a continuous corridor such as ICF is an absolutely priceless property because of its potential multiple uses if planned specifically for emergency and strategic usage/needs.
That may be a water and food supply, transmission of precious commodities and even as a guided ground transport mode. Then too it may be conditionally available for hikers and walkers but not as exclusive usage. That is what such a corridor is capable of being and more.
The corridor owners will never surrender ownership at a cost that walkers and hikers as users can afford to pay just to maintain it, so why even try? This is not a gifting proposition, because of its innate value which to this date has never been addressed. Consider that a 12-inch pipeline costs about $1 million per mile to build and that suddenly changes the equation and your perception of the future potential for this corridor.
Lastly, a hiking trail can be built almost anywhere at a fraction of what the corridor is valued. If the communities wants long-term guardianship they should know it’s real worth and act to give it added value.