DES MOINES, Iowa -- The trail system is a beloved amenity in the metro. This week Des Moines Parks and Recreation is conducting their annual survey to measure where the trails are most used and how people use them.
Des Moines Parks and Rec. says a million people used the trails at Grays Lake and 800,000 people used the trails at Ashworth Park. This yearly survey allows Parks and Rec. to apply for grants to help fund the trails.
Marketing Supervisor of Des Moines Parks and Recreation Jen Fletcher said, "it really helps us validate the fact that the trails are used as much as they are because we’re just saying, we know they’re loved, we know they’re popular. This gives us the statistical date and validates the fact that we know people are using them, we know where they are being used."
Fletcher said they need the community's help, they are asking for more than 100 volunteers for Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday to keep count of people using the trail and hand out the online surveys. They ask the public to go online and fill out a survey about their experience with the trails. If you volunteer for one shift you get $10 in park bucks that you can use for any program Parks and Rec offers. If you volunteer for two shifts you get a free registration to the 2019 Mayor’s annual ride and run.
”It’s absolutely a part of my everyday life, it’s a part of my health program, and it’s definitely a part of my dog’s life," Des Moines resident Mike Tramontina said.
Parks and Rec. knows people love the trails, but this survey measures how they can better the trails for the community.
”Some people love to walk, some people to ride, some people love to mountain bike and so that’s why we’ve got 63 miles of paved trail and 18 miles of nature trails, some people love to mountain bike some people just love to ride their bike with their family and so that’s the cool thing about what we do we just try to provide a little bit of something for everybody," Fletcher said.
Past surveys have shown that the majority of people use the trails for recreation, but an increasing number use them as a way to get to work.
“People do, they ride their bike to work so we need to make sure we keep the trails clear just like the streets so it’s really interesting how many people commute, that’s their car, that’s their livelihood, that’s how they get to and fro," Fletcher said.
To sign up to be a volunteer at dmparks.org or if you are using the trails Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday be sure to fill out a survey with what you like about the trails or what you feel could be improved.