November Trails Talk


Betsy's Bench Erick Hovey recently purchased a bench in memory of his wife Elizabeth “Betsy” Rose (Hostert) Hovey and he shared the story of their time here in the Iowa Great Lakes.

“Betsy first visited the Lakes area with me in 1988. She was an avid hiker and cyclist and through the 1990’s she explored every part of the Lakes region. By the 2000’s we were spending summers on our sailboat and a lot of time cycling on the areas expanding trails system. Betsy loved nature and we restored 20 acres of prairie and wetlands on our northwest Iowa farm. She especially enjoyed the trails that traversed these types of landscapes. In 2019 we bought the cabin that had belonged to my parents on the south shore of Big Spirit Lake. Betsy was thrilled to have the trail so close by and used it regularly all year round. The bench in her memory is located on 140th street near the pump house in Orleans.” The DCTB appreciates the Hovey’s donation to the trail that enhances a beautiful location and offers a lovely view of Big Spirit Lake.

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 trails system has seen significant growth and improvements over the last three 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 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, significant improvements to the Nature Trails trailhead and filling in street route gaps around the lakes.


Overall, the ambitious goals listed above require an investment of $6 million that will create another 7 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.


During their quarterly assembly held in early October, the Iowa Great Lakes Rotary club voted to donate $500 to the Dickinson County Trails along with two other organizations, IGL rotary donationSTEMM (Siouxland Tanzania Educational Medical Ministries) and the Pearson Lakes Art Center. The DCTB thanks the Rotary Club for distributing member contributions each quarter to the many great organizations around the Iowa Great Lakes that make our world a better place.

Right: John Battern, President of the Iowa Great Lakes Rotary, presents the Dickinson County Trails with a donation for $500.


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