• Sun August 25 2013
  • Posted Aug 25, 2013

The 18th annual Cedar Valley Trails Fest, conducted last weekend, gives us another chance to count our blessings here in the Cedar Valley.

The event is coordinated by several groups dedicated to bringing more awareness and usage to the Cedar Valley trails.

That’s important, because to know them is to love them.

Our recreational trails have become a part of the identity of the Cedar Valley as well as the envy of other communities. Visitors frequently mention this perk when in the area or after departing. Through letters to the editor, or other correspondence, they often will tell us how lucky we are to have the trails. Indeed, we are fortunate to have this system.

It provides recreation and exercise opportunities to walkers, runners, bicyclists and those walking their pets. Beautiful scenery along the way is a pleasant byproduct.

The network across Cedar Falls and Waterloo includes loops of varying distances, from a mile to accommodate a short walk, or 10-and 30-mile routes for long bike rides.

The downtowns of both communities are linked to the system, helping to maintain business activity in both areas.

This well-planned system offers approximately 110 miles of paved recreation trails with loops that are interconnected. It includes scenic rides or walks through parks and along the river, but is still built in and around the metro area. That keeps users close to services they may need — including emergency services.

In the name of safety, a pedestrian bridge over Iowa Highway 58 and an underpass on Greenhill Road have been built recently. Trail connections into adjacent neighborhoods are being constructed.

Both communities of the metro area were selected as Blue Zones pilot program sites — a program focusing on healthy living. The easy-to-use trail system probably played a significant part in that. It will definitely be part of that program going forward.

It’s the kind of amenity that people look for when deciding on where to live and raise a family.

Through the efforts of those who planned for this community gem — and those who help to maintain it — more and more Cedar Valley residents are coming to realize what a valuable resource we have in our trails system.

Envious visitors sure have.

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