November Trails Talk


Clay County Connection Phase I along Pioneer Park south of Milford


On November 10, the City of Milford was awarded an Iowa DNR REAP grant for construction of the first phase of the Clay County Connection.  The 1.3-mile trail will start at the south end of the Spine Trail in Milford and is part of a three-phase project to connect the Dickinson County Trails with Clay County. The $70,205 in REAP funding will supplement a Federal Recreational Trails grant of $285,690 that was secured earlier this year.  Overall, the Clay County Connection is part of the 135-mile Iowa Great Lakes Connection Trail that will link several existing trails and lakes in Northwest Iowa and is designated as a trail of statewide significance by the Iowa DOT. Design work has started on Phase I of the project and construction is anticipated to start in 2023.  Depending on available funding, the DCTB is planning to complete the connection with Clay County in 2025.



The trails system has seen significant growth and improvements over the last three years including 10 miles of new trail development, a beautiful new trailhead in Spirit Lake and several impactful maintenance projects.  We could not accomplish all of this without the generous support of our donors. As we look ahead, the DCTB has big plans for trail expansion through the next two years that include finishing the rail trail connection to Lake Park, starting the Iowa Great Lakes Connection to Clay County and expanding the Spine Trail through Anglers Bay along the northeast side of Big Spirit Lake. In addition, we continue to plan for new railing and lighting for the trestle bridge between East and West Okoboji Lakes and filling in more street route gaps around the lakes.


Overall, the ambitious goals listed above require an investment of $6.9 million that will create another 10 miles of trails and connections throughout the region. Many of the projects have received state, federal and local grants but we need your help to continue all of this exciting work.  The DCTB is now in the midst of our Fall Friends Campaign and we hope you consider joining Friends of the Trails.  Your gift will enable us to enhance the quality of life in the Iowa Great Lakes while making a substantial contribution to the area’s health and economy. You can find information about donating to the trails at our website We truly appreciate the community’s support in the work we do to improve the trails system.

Tatanka Ska Trace – Montgomery to Lake Park






There are still some beautiful days to appreciate before the snow settles in for the winter.  Getting out on the Dickinson County Trails is a great way to enjoy nature while maintaining your mental and physical health as the temperatures cool.  And when the snow does come around, we will keep you posted on our Facebook page about the conditions on the beautiful cross country skiing trails at Brooks and Kettleson Hogsback.

As always, Happy Trails to You and Yours.
Erin Reed, DCTB Executive Director