March Trails Talk


The trails’ bench program continues to grow and be a popular opportunity to honor loved ones and friends.  The benches provide rest areas along the trails as well as raising funds for development.   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 Marvin and June Janssen family chose to replace their old wooden bench along Big Spirit Lake last fall.  They shared how Marvin started a family legacy and love of biking.

Janssen by trails bench

Janssen’s grandson Nick and friend Rachel at the family’s new bench.

A Family Legacy:
Honoring Dad & Gra
ndpa and His Love of Biking

Marvin and June Janssen have had a cabin on Big Spirit Lake for over 20 years. Marvin loved biking. He would bike to the cabin and back from their farm in southern Minnesota and he enjoyed biking around the lake. Marvin also brought his bike whenever he visited his daughters that were further away. His love of biking became a family activity for three generations. For 8 out of 10 years, there was a multi-generational family team involved in RAGBRAI. Planning would begin once the route came out in March; number of people going, motels reserved and sometimes t-shirts were made for the whole family. Mom would be the fearless driver dropping off, picking up and sitting by the roadside with the littlest of grandchildren waiting for the family of bikers. Biking into the towns, eating a fantastic grilled pork chop or homemade ice cream and meeting so many wonderful people with a shared love of biking are all fond memories. Dad loved his bike and he would bike a thousand miles a year! He was happy when he decided to put a carving of a bike with the saying “Thanks for the Ride” on his tombstone. Now that he has passed, when we see and sit on that bench, we think of him and his “Love for Biking”.


Trailhead shelter

trails bathroom

The restroom building takes shape at Tatanka Ska Trailhead.

Construction has started again at the old shiny diner property on Peoria Avenue and Lake Street.  The DCTB purchased the land last April and, in partnership with Imagine Iowa Great Lakes, we have been planning a new trailhead where Tatanka Ska Trace and the Spine Trail intersect.  The trailhead will be a focal point of the trails system in the heart of Spirit Lake and features designs inspired by Native American beadwork and northwest Iowa’s prairie landscape with a few railroad themes to tie in the rail trail. The facilities will include restrooms, shaded areas with picnic tables and benches as well as a water fountain, bike workstation and charging station.  Overall, the project will beautify the area and create a relaxing and natural space. The DCTB is excited to bring this new amenity to the Iowa Great Lakes Trails system and we look forward to a grand opening in early summer. For more information on the trailhead and sponsorship opportunities, visit .

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