A busy, hardworking summer awaits the new members of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ trail crew who recently met for the first time in Des Moines.
A typical summer trail crew generally is comprised of 18-25 members who are either current undergraduates or recent college graduates from Iowa and around the country.
This year a smaller group made up of 11 quarter-time members, 3 full-time members, and 3 full-time DNR staff will tackle projects of equal strength to years past.
Beginning in late May, the crew will start a month-long project at Springbrook State Park where they will be refurbishing trails around the lake, pulling coverts, removing and replacing a staircase, and repairing benches. The crew will camp while working in the park. The trails program provides a chuck wagon for transportation and a canopy for shelter.
Members will attend the Great Race Against Shrubs and Shade (G.R.A.S.S) Friday in Turin, in central Monona County on May 30. Cooperating with the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation and the Nature Conservancy, the trail crew will remove invasive species and do prairie restoration in Iowa’s scenic Loess Hills.
Similar projects are scheduled for June. The crew will move to Lake of Three Fires in Bedford, where they will work to stabilize the expansive equestrian trails. They are scheduled to attend the 5th annual Iowa Trail Summit in Cedar Falls that features more than 20 panelists speaking about the future of Iowa’s trails in terms of development, public engagement and innovations for the future.
In July, the trail crew will head to Bellevue State Park along the Mississippi River to build a single-track, sustainable trail.
Other activities and smaller projects include AmeriCamp, an AmeriCorps training camp.
Last year, the trail crew’s most significant projects took place at Brushy Creek State Park, Bellevue State Park and Stone State Park.
Photos of the trail crew from previous years are available on flickr at https://www.flickr.com/photos/iowadnr/sets/72157640357051923/. To learn more about the 2014 Iowa Trail Summit, visit http://iowaTrailsummit.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/2014_Friday.pdf.
For more information, contact Whitney Davis, Trails Program Coordinator, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, 515-281-8959.