DALLAS COUNTY, Iowa — The idea is simple: take two favorites and join them together.
“Any trail rider or user will tell you that this is a great connection for central Iowa,” says engineer, Brenna Fall.
The map makes it look easy—run the High Trestle Trail west to Perry and join with the Raccoon River Valley Trail.
Riders have been calling for it.
“They ask ‘When are you going to make a connection from Perry to Woodward?’” says Mike Wallace, director of the Dallas County Conservation Board.
It’s NOT that easy. The section of abandoned railroad bed between Perry and Woodward was sold long ago to private landowners and can’t be recovered, but the demand to join the trails is higher than ever and the Dallas County Conservation Board has a plan to get the job done.
“One of the things we’ve been looking at doing is to build the trail off to the side of the existing county road right-of-ways,” Wallace says, “which has been done before, it takes a little bit more engineering and more money.”
The board got $92,000 late last year from the Iowa DOT and used that money to hire Snyder and Associates of Ankeny and their engineer, Brenna Fall.
“We have just started the feasibility study, just looking at the location,” she says.
Her firm has done many of the bike trails around here, but with no rail bed, this is a special challenge.
“It will take more time,” Fall says, “it may be a little bit more expensive than the other Rails to Trails projects but I think it’s a popular enough idea that it will go forward.”
Dallas County guesses it could run $5 million and take 4-5 years to fund and complete, but again, this seems to be an easy sell.
“And once you start it, that kind of feeds on itself,” says Wallace, “and then people see it’s a reality and they buy into the program and that helps as well.”