• Mon July 07 2008
  • Posted Jul 7, 2008
Party caps decade of work and planning By JO VETTER, Messenger correspondent TWIN LAKES - The dedication of the Twin Lakes Trail on Sunday celebrated vision and volunteerism. Retired pastor B.J. Ukena, master of ceremonies for the dedication, called the trail "a masterpiece of community pride." "We are here to celebrate the completion of a project that has gone from dream to concrete over the past ten years-to dedicate it to the use of future generations and to say a huge thank you to the 100 plus people whose vision and sweat and contributions have made it possible to bring this dream to completion," Ukena said. He described the process that led to the finish of the 6.5 mile concrete trail that encircles North Twin Lake. Ukena said that it all began in 1988 when the Twin Lakes Restoration Association presented the idea to the Calhoun County Board of Supervisors and approached the Department of Natural Resources about the viability of a trail. Ukena thanked dozens of people who contributed to the completion of the Twin Lakes Trail. He recognized the efforts of individuals as well as groups such as the Calhoun County Board of Supervisors who, Ukena said, "had the vision to see the value of this trail." "However, five persons are really the stars of the show," Ukena said. "Four of them are Founders, and the fifth I like to call Johnny Appleseed." Ukena was referring to Twin Lakes Trail founders Barb Gidel, president of the Twin Lakes Trail Board, KAP Linder, who wrote the grants for the project, Mildred Petersen, who provided financial backing, and Leonard Woodruff, who provided engineering expertise. "Johnny Appleseed" was a reference to Pat Minnick, who, with the help of crews from the North Central Correction Facility in Rockwell City, has been responsible for planting and maintaining 650 trees along the trail. All five were honored on stage and presented with plaques commemorating their service by Twin Lakes Trail dedication committee co-chairs Jeri Brokaw and Rita DeWall. Brokaw said that the dedication ceremony was also intended to "honor one man's vision." She said that vision belonged to the late Charles Petersen who had first brought up the idea of a trail in 1988. The last section of concrete trail, called Trail of Dreams, was poured in November 2007. Ukena said the trail was a "nearly 2.5 million dollar project." Linder added that in applying for and receiving a grant from Vision Iowa, "the Vision Iowa Board insisted that we (Linder through the Calhoun County Conservation Commision) request funds from the Calhoun County Board of Supervisors to help complete the project." "The supervisors stepped up and surpassed our expectations by pledging $300,000 toward completion of the project," Linder said. Ukena also recognized all the other Calhoun County representatives who had helped with the success of the trail as well volunteers who mowed grass and maintained gazebos, lights and benches. "That includes an awful lot of us-let's give ourselves a hand," Ukena said as the audience laughed and applauded. In a closing prayer, Ukena said of the generations who will use the trail in the future: "May they find pleasure, relaxation, inspiration, and healthfulness in its use for years to come." Ukena's words were evidenced in the number of children 12 and under who turned out to participate in the bike-decorating contest held just before the ceremony. Nearly 40 children in three age groups displayed their bikes before judges Jim and Sue Sebby. Santa Claus was on hand in a golf cart decorated with candy canes to lead the children in their bike parade along the Twin Lakes Trail. He had arrived a short time earlier with Mrs. Claus and said he was "out here checking to see if the kids are being good." While the children showed off their handiwork with bikes decorated in themes ranging from sparkling red, white and blue, to green John Deere tractors, to purple and pink flowers, other attendees enjoyed lunch served by Twin Lakes Trail volunteers. Dean Black, of the Calhoun County Cattleman's Association, volunteered his time to cook over 200 hamburgers for the meal. Contact Jo Vetter at

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