November 2023 Trails Talk


Bench program coordinator Yvonne Taylor & Executive Director Erin Reed enjoy the new bench in honor of Roy Rohlin

Roy & Phyllis Rohlin started Rohlin Construction in 1963 in Estherville and were in business for 41 years. Roy handled construction operations; Phyllis took care of the books and ran the office as the secretary and treasurer.

In the late 1980’s Joan Schneider, an early advocate and member of the first Dickinson County Trails Association, approached the Rohlins for help with building the first segments of the Iowa Great Lakes Spine Trail. Roy & Phyllis jumped on board, purchased a small paver and put together a crew just for the trail.

The Rohlins eventually bought a condominium at Okoboji Shores and spent 18 years there. With the Spine Trail right next door, Phyllis had easy access to it and walked the trail nearly every day with the exception of when they were wintering in Mesa, Arizona where she got her walks in with a hiking club down there. Another couple of her favorite trails include the Henderson Woods-Lower Gar Trail and the Nature Center Trail.

As part of a very generous donation to Friends of the Trails, Phyllis chose to place a bench just south of the YMCA along one of the first sections of trail they built back in 1991. We are grateful to honor the Rohlins’ many contributions to the Iowa Great Lakes Trails and especially remember her late husband Roy.

The bench program continues to grow and be a popular opportunity to honor loved ones and friends.  It also helps raise funds for development and provides the trails with appreciated rest areas.  If you are interested in replacing or getting a new bench to honor someone in your life, please visit for more information and the Bench Program form.


The DCTB is excited to build upon the significant growth the trails system has experienced over the last few years, including over 12 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 Trails Board continues to focus on connecting communities around the Iowa Great Lakes. This includes finishing the rail trail connection with Lake Park and starting the Spine Trail extension to the south and joining the Clay County trails. Long-term projects include expanding the trails around Big Spirit Lake and East Okoboji Lake, new railing and lighting for the trestle bridge and filling in street route gaps around the lakes.

The DCTB continues to apply for and receive local, state and federal grants but we need your help to continue all of this exciting work.  Local donations are the key factor for matching funds and grant awards. Your contribution will ensure that we continue to build on all that has been accomplished. It is Fall Friends Campaign season 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 helping us improve and grow the trails system.

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