COUNTY PARK TRAIL OPENS

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By Audrey Posten

North Iowa Times

 

Trail enthusiasts have another local option now that construction is completed on the first-ever trail for Bloody Run County Park.

A crew from the Iowa and Minnesota Conservation Corps has completed their work in the park located outside Marquette. According to Clayton County Conservation Director Jenna Pollock, the trail can now be used although signage and a map are still in the works.

The trail, which is about a mile long, assures that most of Bloody Run’s 133 acres is utilized in some way.

“It’s pretty rugged terrain,” Clayton County Conservation naturalist Kenny Slocum Slocum said of the area the trail passes through. “There’s not a lot of dirt.”

The trail crew’s main job, he continued, was to establish tread and remove some trees.

(They laid) out the path,” Slocum said, “but we’ll rely on people to come and use the trail to establish it fully. That’s the best way to beat it down.”

Pollock said a grand opening will be held this fall for that purpose. She also said that she’s researching the name suggested for the new path, Well’s Hollow Trail.

The trail is challenging, taking take people straight up a hillside. However, it’s a more gradual incline than, for example, the trail at Effigy Mounds, Slocum added. And the view at the top is worth the effort of the climb.

 “People will be surprised when they get to the overlook, how beautiful it is,” Slocum said, noting that, without roads and buildings marring the landscape, only the sound of nearby traffic will remind hikers they haven’t gone back in time to ancient Iowa. “It’s a prime location.”

Incorporating a trail into Bloody Run County Park, which Slocum said is one of the county’s most visited parks, has been on Clayton County Conservation’s five-year plan since 2002. Trails align with their mission to both protect natural resources and enhance recreational opportunities.

“It will be one more reason to visit the park,” he said. “It opens the park up to day use visitors as opposed to just campers and fishermen.”

Funding for the Bloody Run trail project was covered by a $10,000 Wellmark Foundation Community Kickstarter grant. The winner was decided upon online, by popular vote. The project competed against 128 others to earn the grant.

“This is a special project because not only was the grant won thanks to the votes of Clayton County citizens, but the grant pays for almost the entirety of the construction— $10,000 of the $10,080 price tag,” Slocum said. “I think it’s pretty special the community has made this investment by public support, at almost no cost to the county and taxpayers themselves.”

Slocum said he hopes the Bloody Run trail will encourage others to establish trails, further promoting healthy living and recreational opportunities in the area.

“If it’s there, people will use it,” he said. “It’s another way to let people enjoy what’s in their own backyard and also draw people to the area.”

Register Editor Pam Reinig contributed to this article.

 
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