May Trails Talk


New pavement on the Nature Center TrailMaintenance continues on several segments of the trail system in Okoboji, Spirit Lake and Orleans. In mid-May, new asphalt overlays were completed on the Nature Center Trail and the Spine Trail by Kiwanis Park. The asphalt crew will return at the beginning of June to continue paving the Spine Trail from 15th Street to Hill Avenue in Spirit Lake and along the east side of Big Spirit Lake in Orleans. In addition, over the next few weeks a concrete crew will be working on several ADA and ramp improvements where overlays have taken place.

When completed, over 4 miles of trail will have new asphalt surfaces and 14 curb ramp entrances will be reconstructed for ADA compliance. The improvements and smoother ride will enhance the overall experience for trail users throughout the Lakes region.


SHARING THE TRAIL WITH PETStrail walk with dog

Getting out on the trails is a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors and get some exercise.  However, sometimes we hear complaints or see issues that concern trail users.  The trails are being used more than ever these days and it is important to remember that thoughtful trail etiquette makes the experience better for everyone. This month we will focus on taking our dogs on the trail. This is a great activity and the trails are an excellent place for us to get exercise with our pets.  Keep in mind that most cities have leash laws that require their use and having our dogs on a leash helps keep them and other trail users safe.  Even the best-behaved dogs can be startled by approaching bicycles or unexpected interactions and we have to presume that some people are afraid of dogs.  Likewise, we need to pick up after our pets. Besides being unsightly and smelly, animal waste can be hazardous to the health of children and other pets using the trail.  Being polite and using common courtesy while on the trail with our pets will make it more enjoyable for everyone.



Spirit Lake bike ride on trail

A Spirit Lake 4th Grade family enjoys their own BRAWL

Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus and safety concerns, a number of trail events and rides have been cancelled or postponed for the months of May and June.  While we are hopeful that we will get to get to enjoy some events later this summer, it is important that organizers are taking precautions and making the safety of everyone the upmost priority.  We appreciate their hard work in organizing the events and know that these decisions are extremely difficult.

One of my favorite spring events is the Spirit Lake 4th Grade BRAWL (Bike Ride Along West Lake). This year’s ride has been cancelleTrail displayd but one component of the event is still taking place.  In past years, elementary science teacher Doug Stueven has set up a scaled model display of our solar system.  The sun and each planet are sized to scale and set out along the West Okoboji Trail according to their distance from the sun starting at the north tunnel and ending near Lakeside Lab for a total distance of about 3.2 miles.  Mr. Stueven has set up the science project again to encourage families to ride the trail and understand more about our solar system; every station will include a QR code so that parents and students can learn more about that planet. The display will be up until the end of the May to give everyone the time and opportunity to check it out.



The DCTB continues to plan for our annual fundraiser, Bikes-Brews-Bites, that is scheduled for Friday, July 17 with a backup date of Friday, September 4.  The fundraiser will be at Okoboji Brewing Company again and though we are hopeful we can have the event, it will ultimately come down to the safety of everyone involved.  This year it bikes brews bites benefitwill be important as ever to have continued support from our sponsors and donors as we have ambitious plans to develop 8 new miles of trail in the next year.  Furthermore, trails have been incredibly important during the pandemic and use is up 300% from last year at this time.  More information and sponsorship opportunities will be shared soon.




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