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Scoop on the Loop - May 2024

Updated: 6 days ago

May 2024 Raccoon River Valley Trail Association Newsletter


Trail Permits No Longer Required

Accessing the Raccoon River Trail (RRVT) is now easier than ever as trail permits are no longer mandatory. This decision, spearheaded by the trail's co-owners, Dallas, Greene, and Guthrie counties, aims to streamline access and eliminate confusion. While the previous permits supported trail amenities and promotion, they posed barriers for visitors transitioning from other trails. The removal of this requirement aligns RRVT with other trails in Central Iowa. However, special permits for significant trail events will still be necessary, managed by the county conservation boards.

Though the purchase of permits is no longer obligatory, ongoing funding remains vital for maintaining and promoting the trail. The RRVT, a nationally recognized Iowa attraction, welcomes over 350,000 trail enthusiasts annually. Your support is pivotal in sustaining awareness and tourism for this beloved trail.

We invite you to join fellow supporters in contributing to the RRVT, ensuring the continuation of this exceptional experience across the state and beyond. Your generosity aids in attracting trail users, benefiting communities along the trail and the state of Iowa as a whole. Make your contribution here:

2024 Trail Repairs

Sustaining an 89-mile trail requires continuous upkeep. Over the next few years, a series of maintenance activities are planned along the RRVT, potentially causing temporary disruptions in certain sections. Here's an overview of the trail enhancements scheduled for 2024 and 2025.

  1. Redfield to Linden: This segment, closed last fall, is undergoing bridge replacements and the conversion of asphalt to concrete. The long-term strategy aims to pave the entire trail with concrete, with completion expected by June.

  2. Waukee to Dallas Center: Repair work is underway near Waukee, southeast of the T Avenue crossing. A temporary trail has been established to bypass the closure, as part of the ongoing Douglas Avenue connection project, set to conclude by May.

  3. Adel to Waukee: This section is earmarked for repairs from 2024 through 2026, focusing on bridge replacements and upgrading surfaces to concrete. Initial efforts will concentrate on restoring the "Lighted Bridge" in Adel, with work anticipated to begin this summer.

  4. Jefferson to Herndon and Potentially to Yale: Efforts are underway to address the trail's condition from Winkleman Switch near Jefferson, south to the Green-Guthrie County line, and possibly beyond. Greene and Guthrie counties are seeking a federal grant of up to $1.4 million to tackle issues along this stretch, laid with asphalt in 1998 and now in need of significant repair. A decision on the grant application is expected later this year.



Thirty-Fifth Anniversary Bike Ride on April 27

To commemorate the RRVT's 35th anniversary, the Raccoon River Valley Trail Association organized a 35-mile roundtrip bike ride from Dallas Center to Perry on April 27, led by Dr. Richard Deming. This event coincided with the Rails to Trails Conservancy National Celebrate Trails Day, encouraging people nationwide to enjoy exceptional trails. Over fifty participants joined, with some riding from Perry to Bouton on the nearly completed connection to the High Trestle Trail. More rides are planned throughout the year to celebrate the RRVT's milestone.

The Connection to the High Trestle Trail is Almost Complete 

A decade-long endeavor is nearing its conclusion as the connection between RRVT and High Trestle trails is slated for completion on August 15. This "Connector" will link Woodward to Perry with Bouton in between, forming a crucial link in the central Iowa trail network, totaling over 600 miles of paved trails and connecting more than twenty-four towns around the Des Moines metro area and beyond, creating a 120-mile loop.

Both RRVT and High Trestle trails were built on railroad rights-of-way, facilitating construction. However, the Perry to Woodward right-of-way had reverted to individual landowners, necessitating negotiations for trail construction. Consequently, this connection will differ from typical rail-to-trail projects, featuring more elevation changes and curves.

The project's total cost exceeds $6 million, primarily funded by state and federal grants. A ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the connection's opening is scheduled for August 17, with details pending confirmation.

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