The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a national nonprofit organization aiming to create a network of trails from former rail lines, recently announced their nominations for the Rail-to-Trials Hall of Fame. At 89-miles and growing, central Iowa’s Raccoon River Valley Trail is the longest trail on this year’s list. Hall of Fame voting is open to everyone and runs July 9-13, 2018. Links to online voting will be posted daily at the Dallas County Conservation Board Facebook page.
The Raccoon River Valley Trail, along with trails in Indiana, Illinois, Washington, and Idaho, are all areas that were identified based on noteworthy features including: scenic value, use, trail and trailside amenities, historical significance, management and maintenance, community connections, and other Hall-of-Fame-worthy merits. Winner of the online voting will be announced later this summer.
Dallas County Conservation Board Director Mike Wallace says, “We were honored when we heard about this nomination as it reinforces the importance and value the trail brings to our region.” He continued, “As we move forward to link the Raccoon River Valley Trail to the High Trestle Trail, the network will have an even greater reach.”
The Raccoon River Valley Trail sits along former rail lines that connected Des Moines to the Iowa Great Lakes Region. Each year the paved path hosts upwards of 350,000 bicyclists, walkers, runners, skiers, skaters, and snowmobilers. The trail connects 14 communities, winding from Waukee to Jefferson through dense woods and open farmlands, and over the 600-foot long trestle bridge spanning the North Raccoon River. The path is accessed from a number of trailheads in Dallas, Guthrie, and Greene Counties. Daily user fees of $2 are required for most trail segments, or annual $10 passes can be purchased.
In addition to unlimited Hall-of-Fame voting which is open to everyone, trail users are also encouraged to show support for their favorite trail by using the hashtag #RailTrailHOF when posting photos online.
The Dallas County Conservation Board was established in 1962 to protect, preserve, and enhance our natural resources by providing opportunities to improve the public’s quality of life through environmental education, ecosystem management, outdoor recreation, and historic preservation.