“The dream is to spiderweb this entire nation with so many green threads, principally along streams and ridges, that every citizen would be only minutes away from one.”
~ NOEL GROVE, Land & People, 1994 ~
COUPLE TREKS THE IOWA GREAT LAKES TRAILS EACH YEAR
Every year Bob and Delna Mulhair spend their time here at the Great Lakes walking two miles a day as they journey every trail in the area throughout the season. This includes road shoulder trails around Big Spirit Lake along with non-trail areas like Francis Sites and sidewalks along Hill Avenue. It takes them four months to accomplish this feat all while enjoying one mile of beautiful scenery each day. Bob and Delna say that they park their car and set out for a one-mile walk then turn around and head back to the car. At the turnaround is where they park the following day and so on. “The best way to see our beautiful lakes and scenery is to see it on foot,” says Bob. We could not agree more and we hope their story inspires others to appreciate our beautiful region by foot or bicycle as well.
At times, it feels like progress on trail development is a slow game. Many people will ask why we do not build a trail here or there, or when will you be in Lake Park with the rail trail. DCTB takes time at the end of each year planning for projects and trail segments are prioritized based on many factors including impact, integration, safety, available right of way and funding. A key factor is deciding which projects are likely to get grant funding. On average it costs $400,000 to build a mile of trail and our projects are primarily funded through State and Federal Recreational Trail grants. Recently these grant programs have provided around $2.8 million in funding and that only allows for around 7 miles of trail development in Iowa each year. This results in a lot of competition for these grant dollars throughout the entire state. It is imperative that the state legislature pass funding for Iowa’s Natural Resources & Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund so that communities have access to more trail funding and development opportunities. For more information on the Trust Fund go to www.iowaswaterandlandlegacy.org .
UPDATE ON CURRENT TRAIL PROJECTS
The Jones Pasture Trail on the northeast side of Big Spirit Lake is nearly finished with concrete paving and dirt work completed. This project extends the Spine Trail one mile north along the east side of Big Spirit Lake. A ribbon cutting and grand opening will be held in the near future to celebrate the new trail segment. Clearing and grading have begun for Phase II of the rail trail, Tatonka Ska Trace. This segment involves a one-mile extension of the trail from Hy-Vee at Peoria Avenue continuing west to Hudson Avenue where it will outlet onto 15th Street. We look forward to completion of both projects yet this fall.
As always, Happy Trails to You and Yours…
Erin Reed, Executive Director