• Posted Sep 24, 2008

Sunday, Oct. 5. - Ride part of the mewly completed Ankeny to Woodward Trail

Trail enthusiasts and the communities in central Iowa will celebrate progress on the Central Iowa Trails System with a public bike ride on Sunday, Oct. 5. The ride, from Ankeny to Slater, will preview a key segment of new trail connecting the Heart of Iowa Nature Trail from Slater south to Ankeny and west to Madrid. These miles are part of a larger Ankeny-Woodward trail project, for which a current fundraising drive is underway. The Heart of Iowa Trail extends 32- miles east of Slater to Melbourne, and eventually to Marshalltown. Riders will gather at 11:30 a.m., at Hawkeye Park, on West First St., under the water tower, one block west of the fire station. After a short welcome, the ride will begin at noon. Participants will tour about 12.5 miles (one way), making several stops to view trail amenities, discuss work still in progress and view places of interest. The ride will conclude in Slater, at the Heart of Iowa trail-head and arboretum, located off R38 (also known as Linn St.) near the elementary school on the east side of town. A closing program at 2 p.m. will include entertainment and refreshments. KCCI NewsChannel 8 meteorologist Jason Parkin, an avid trail user, has agreed to emcee the event. RIDE DETAILS Riders are welcome to join the group in Sheldahl or from other nearby towns (Madrid, Huxley, Cambridge). Friends of the trail can also arrive just for the 2:00 program in Slater. Bikers will return to Ankeny on their own schedule. The event is planned, rain or shine. This will be the first opportunity to ride the new trail, which will not open to the public until at least Oct. 5. (Due to continuing construction and safety issues, riders face substantial fines for using the trail before it opens.) Sponsors of the Oct. 5 ride include the newly formed Friends of Central Iowa Trails (FOCIT), the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF), Polk and Boone counties, and the cities of Ankeny, Sheldahl and Slater. The event also spotlights the next planned portion of this trail, which will extend 13 miles west from Slater to Woodward. That segment will feature the Des Moines River Art Bridge, which will be the fifth-largest trail bridge in the world: a half-mile long and 13 stories high. A million-dollar campaign is now underway to complete this bridge and the full trail connection between Woodward and Ankeny. “This dramatic showpiece bridge will be a regional landmark,” said Doug Reichardt, co-chair of the campaign. “This project is absolutely essential as we work toward having the Midwest’s only multi-loop trail system right here in central Iowa, as a tourism attraction and for area residents to enjoy.” To complete the final trail segment on schedule by 2010, trail partners must raise $1 million by July 2009. About half of that must be raised by Nov. 6, 2008, to secure a promised $1.75 million Vision Iowa Grant and begin bridge construction this winter. Nearly $200,000 has been given or pledged by more than 200 donors since the Vision Iowa Grant was announced in July, but more gifts and pledges are urgently needed to meet the fundraising deadline and keep the project on track. About 90 percent of this $14.7 million project has been funded through 20 public grants and a substantial land value donation from the Union Pacific Railroad. “This is a unique opportunity for our communities,” said Reichardt. “It’s time for us to ask residents and businesses of this area to help complete this important addition to our trails infrastructure.” For more information or to donate to the trail, visit or call Andrea Chase or Lisa Hein at 800-475-1846 or 515-288-1846. Other news Ankeny to Woodward Trail connects the dots Ankeny to Woodward Trail Receives Boost From Vision Iowa Chopper 13 fly-by movie clip websites Ankeny to Woodward Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF) Friends of Central Iowa Trails (FOCIT) map

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