Recreational trailsInterest in use of trails for bicycling, walking and running has increased in the last few years and Sioux County saw a big jump in usage during the COVID-19 pandemic that has continued since then, according to Brian Van Engen, president of the Sioux County Trail Council.
“Trails are one of the most sought-after amenities for communities nationwide, especially for younger people,” Van Engen said. “We want northwest Iowa to be a place that our children and grandchildren want to move back to.”
Sioux County along with Orange City, Sioux Center and Sioux County Trails Council are hopeful that a Destination Iowa grant will be awarded for the construction of the Northwest Iowa Explorer Trail, a proposed regional connector trail that will link the communities of Alton, Orange City and Sioux Center.
The project will add 8.3 miles of multiuse trail and refurbish a mile of existing trail. It will link to existing multiuse trails to create a system total of more than 25 miles, creating a unified tourism attraction among the three communities and Sandy Hollow Recreation Area.
The enhanced 9.3 miles of trail will be Americans with Disabilities Act compliant with a paved surface. It will include one new pedestrian/bicycle bridge for a stream crossing and another retrofitted bridge for pedestrians and bicycles.
Van Engen pointed to the growing popularity of biking everywhere and the fact that more people of all ages are choosing to enjoy a ride on two wheels
“Bicycling in particular has really grown in popularity over the past several years, and that has resulted in increased efforts to add to trail systems both locally and nationally,” he said. “With the introduction of e-bikes, we are seeing an even broader range of people who are able to get out and get some exercise and fresh air. There’s nothing quite as beautiful as a northwest Iowa sunset from the back of a bike.”