(1) Pursuant to the National Trails System Act, and with the consent of the Governor pursuant to section 37-303, the Game and Parks Commission may acquire by gift, devise, or purchase all or any part of a railroad right-of-way in the state proposed to be abandoned for interim trail use. The commission, pursuant to the National Trails System Act, shall hold the right-of-way for one or more of the following uses:
(a) To provide a state recreational trail open to the public;
(b) To preserve wildlife habitat;
(c) To provide a conservation, communications, utilities, and transportation corridor; and
(d) Other uses approved by the commission.
(2) The right-of-way may be acquired only if the State of Nebraska is reasonably protected in a manner satisfactory to the commission for the costs of remedial action and environmental cleanup for conditions arising prior to conveyance to the state and the title is free and clear of all liens and encumbrances.
(3) The commission may use funds available by gift, appropriation, the Trail Development Assistance Fund, and other appropriate cash funds for uses consistent with those stated in this section and sections 37-303 and 37-1003.
(4) As long as the integrity of the right-of-way as an interim recreational trail and future rail use is not disturbed, the commission may lease and grant easement rights on the right-of-way. Any lease or use allowed shall be subject to all prescriptions of the National Trails System Act. All revenue collected from such leases shall be remitted to the State Treasurer for credit to the Trail Development Assistance Fund pursuant to sections 37-1003 and 37-1004.
(5) The commission shall continue to allow all crossings across the right-of-way acquired at the time of acquisition on substantially the same terms and conditions as they existed prior to acquisition unless otherwise agreed between the commission and interested parties.
(6) The acquisition of the right-of-way shall be subject to the restoration of rail service. If a proposal for the operation of a railroad is approved by the federal Surface Transportation Board, the right-of-way shall be sold for the market value of the land and improvements and conditioned upon (a) the operation of a railroad along the right-of-way, (b) the grant of an easement to the commission for recreational trail use adjacent to the railroad if such use is feasible, and (c) the return of the right-of-way to the commission if rail service is discontinued.