For Patrick O’Bryan, a mild winter in Iowa means hitting the Raccoon River Valley Trail much earlier than usual.

"A perfect day for a January ride in Iowa," said O'Bryan.

From the trail head in Waukee, northwest to Jefferson and a dozen more communities west of Des Moines, its 89 miles takes users on a scenic joyride through 14 communities and three counties. O'Bryan said, "It is absolutely beautiful.”

Unlike most other trails, users here are not supposed to just hop on and enjoy the Raccoon River Valley Trail freely. Mike Wallace, executive director of the Dallas County Conservation Board said, "It is $10 a year or $2 a day, so not a lot but the little amount brought in does help significantly.”

Like January temperatures in the 40s, users say the help is noticeable. Greg France, another RRVT trail user and salesperson at Bike World in West Des Moines said, "It is to keep those trails in nice shape. The $10 goes 100 percent to the various counties that the trail goes through for trail maintenance.”

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