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Iowa Bike Trail System to be Part of The Great American Rail-Trail

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SLATER, Iowa -- A new cross-country bike trail will stretch 3,700 miles through 12 different states and Iowa is one of them.

The Great American Rail-Trail is made up of current trails, planned trails and old rail road corridors. Several well known sections here in Iowa will be part of the trail.

Iowa’s portion of The Great American Rail-Trail is one of the most complete out of the 12 states it passes through. It includes The High Trestle Trail, Raccoon River Valley Trail and Connector and Heart of Iowa Nature Trail.

“Being designated as part of The Great American Trail shows that people outside of the state of Iowa nationwide are taking a look at the work we are doing here for trails. Obviously the quality trails we have here, was certainly one of the criteria that I’m assuming was utilized to be part of The Great American Trail,” Dallas County Conservation Board Executive Director Mike Wallace said.

One cyclist said The High Trestle Trail is a favorite of many across the country and even the world.

“This is my favorite trail. There’s a lot of other trails and they’re great but this just happens to be my favorite one,” cyclist Rosie Ceasar said.

Ceasar said she thinks being part of this cross-country trail would be great for Iowa.

“If there’s more traffic through here, there’s going to be more people needing restaurants and campgrounds and places to buy their water or sodas and of course alcoholic beverages. I just think it’d be a good idea,” Ceasar said.

Shawn Birdsall, Owner of Nite Hawk Bar and Grill, located along The High Trestle Trail, said adding the cross-country designation would really benefit local businesses.

"With The High Trestle Trail, we bring a lot of people out of Ankeny, Woodward. We have met people literally from all over the world who have come here to ride this trail. It does a lot for our town, community. Brings a lot of new people in, shows off our little town. I know the other towns in the county, with the Heart of Iowa Trail, are excited to get theirs paved and bring some new visitors to their town as well," Birdsall said.

The Great American Rail-Trail is about half way done and will take several more years to fill the gaps.

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