The results are in.

Rebecca Castle, a project coordinator for Golden Hills Resource Conservation and Development, informed the Page County Board of Supervisors Dec. 4 the prioritized locations for building trails in the county.

For more than the past year, Harrison, Page, Fremont and Montgomery Counties have been working on comprehensive trail system plans including feedback from residents.

Castle provided two maps to the supervisors showing the most popular routes to build trails in Page County. Hard-surface trails parallel Highway 2 between Clarinda and Shenandoah. Another hard-surface trail stretches from Hepburn to near Essex, along County Road J20. Another trail would parallel Highway 48 from Shenandoah north to the Montgomery County line.

The second most popular hard-surface trail suggestions include along the Nodaway River in eastern portions of the county. North of Clarinda, the trail would parallel the West Nodaway River. Another trail would link Northboro to College Springs to Yorktown. An off-shoot of that trail would lead from College Springs to Shambaugh and Clarinda.

Soft-surface trails had a different outcome. Popular suggestions for those trails include connecting Coin to Yorktown and cutting through the county to Hepburn. That trail would include an extension to Pioneer Park. Another trail would follow the Nodaway River through the county from Shambaugh through Clarinda and to the Montgomery County line. Other soft-surface trail suggestions link Shenandoah to Rapp Park to Essex and Fremont County.

Castle emphasized the routes are only suggestions. None of the trails have been confirmed for construction. The suggestions only reflect where people would like to use trails.

“No money or commitment has been made,” she said about trail route ideas. “It’s vague, intentionally.”

When asked by supervisors the estimated time frame to build and complete a trail, Castle said it will take many years.

The National Park Service named the counties as recipients of the Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program for Fiscal Year 2018, according to Golden Hills Resource Conservation and Development.

The program offers the counties assistance through free, on-location facilitation and planning expertise from National Park Service employees, Golden Hills said.

Castle approached the County Conservation Boards in Page and Fremont counties in June 2017 and assembled the applications for the RTCA program. Mills, Pottawattamie and Shelby Counties have already completed countywide trails plans through the program.

“Drawing from past project experiences and adapting best practices to a community’s specific needs, (organizers) will help to define project vision and goals, inventory and map community resources, identify and analyze key issues and opportunities, engage collaborative partners and stakeholders, design community outreach and participation strategies, set priorities and build consensus, identify funding sources, develop a sustainable organizational framework to support the project, and develop concept plans for trails, parks, and natural areas,” Golden Hills said about the effort in the initial release.

Castle has noted the popularity of established trails in Southwest Iowa including The Wabash Trace Nature Trail, Farragut’s Admiral Trail, the Clarinda Community Trail, Rapp Park Connector Trail, Sidney’s Safe Routes to Schools project, East and West Nishnabotna Water Trails, and the Lewis & Clark ‘Today Route’ State Bike Route.

For more information call or email Castle at 712-482-3029 or rebecca.castle@goldenhillsrcd.org.

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