There is a lot happening in the Iowa Great Lakes Trails this summer!
This week's column will give you an overview of the many active trails
projects and activities. While future columns will cover specific
subjects in more depth.
First, both residents and visitors, if you need a trails map/brochure,
you can pick one up at the Iowa Welcome Center, adjacent to the Arnolds
Park Amusement Park, or any of our fabulous hotels and resorts. Enjoy
our many miles of trails around the Iowa Great Lakes, featuring both
hard surface dedicated trails and street routes alike.
The new Pioneer Beach Road trail has been finished. This mile-long plus
stretch hugs the east side of East Lake, starting at Highway 9 and
travels north to the State Fish Hatchery on 252nd Avenue. The trail is
now open and is already getting a lot of use! Our grand opening
celebration was held Monday, June 29.
On the west side of West Lake Okoboji, the final segment on a long run
of trail along Highway 86 is now under construction. Once the grading
and underground pipe work is complete, the trail will be paved with
concrete. Weather permitting, it should be ready for use in the first
part of July. The grand opening celebration for this trail will
celebrate the completion of the entire trail along the west side of West
Lake, and the generous donors who have made it possible. Stay tuned for
the grand opening date and time.
Another trail that will be completed soon runs 1,400 feet in Spirit
Lake, from just north of Hy-Vee, on Peoria Avenue, traveling in an arc
northeast to join the Spine Trail at 15th Street. This is the first
segment of trail on the former IANW Railroad bed. This Rails-to-Trails
project will eventually result in over 40 miles of trail, from just west
of Superior, traveling across both Dickinson and Osceola Counties, to
Allendorf. The complete Rails-to-Trails project is a multi-year
commitment that is now in the planning stage.
Also in the planning stage is a trail along the east side of East Lake
Okoboji, from Highway 9 all the way south, to the Moore Lake Development
area. The south end of this trail will connect to the existing Arnolds
Park trail near Bridges Bay.
From that location, trail users will be able to travel to the Spine
Trail and the entire Iowa Great Lakes area. This, too, is a multi-year
On the maintenance front, we are patching and resurfacing nearly
two-and-a-half miles of the Spine Trail from the McDonald's area north,
past the YMCA, to 23rd Street in Spirit Lake. This is one of our oldest
trails, and the project will result in a great surface that will last
for many years. As you are reading this, patching and part of the new
asphalt overlay is completed, with resurfacing of other sections to
The 2014 Okoboji RAGBRAI Committee made a generous donation to the
trails for emergency and way-finding signage. This project is being
coordinated with Dickinson County Emergency Management. The Trails Board
has set up an Endow Iowa Maintenance Fund with the Okoboji Foundation
as well. We are looking at the long-term need to assure that maintenance
funds will be available into the future as we build more trails and our
trails get older. Donations to this fund are eligible for a 25 percent
state tax credit for Iowa.
If you, your children or grandchildren enjoy using the trails, we invite
you to join the Friends of the Trails. Friends donations and pledges
are used to provide matching funds for grants, building, and maintaining
trails. More information can be found on our website
dickinsoncountytrails.com. Click on the Donate tab, then Friends of the
Happy trails, and look for the next "Trails Talk" in two weeks, and
every other week throughout the summer months. As always, you can also
contact me via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.