Work continues on creating a comprehensive trail plan in at least three KMAland counties.
Recently, the National Park Service's RTCA program held the first round of mapping sessions in Page, Fremont, and Montgomery counties. RTCA is an acronym for Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance. Under the program, the parks service will assist all three counties in creating a system tying several projects together. Another session with Montgomery County supporters took place last week in Villisca. Two more sessions are scheduled for Tuesday evening at 6:30 at the Essex Community Room and Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Sugar Clay Winery in Thurman. Rebecca Castle is project coordinator for the Golden Hills RC&D. Castle tells KMA News meeting attendees will mark out proposed trail systems on large maps showing county roads, rivers, existing trails and parks.
"With a pink marker, they will identify hard-surfaced routes they would like to see," said Castle. "Then, with a green marker, they would identify soft trails they would like to see, which would include equestrian trails, mountain biking trails. The hard-surfaced routes could be either potential trails, such as the connector trail between Essex and Shenandoah, or they could be an expansion of a road system that would maybe have a widening shoulder."
Brian Leaders with the National Park Service is facilitating the planning process. While saying each previous meeting has been well attended, she adds greater attendance and public participation is needed in order to formulate a final plan.
"We've had great participation," she said. "That's really what we need. Brian Leaders is a great facilitator, but he doesn't live in Page or Fremont County. So, he's looking for input from us on where we want to bike, and hike, and canoe, and ride."