A bicycle trail is being planned and built that will follow the Mississippi River from its headwaters in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana. A proposed map for the 280-mile Iowa segment has just been unveiled, according to Cathy Engstrom at the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. Engstrom says the Mississippi River Trail is supposed to run along the river but there are places where it gets a little bit away from the river because of the need for safe roads and other factors and that’s where the public may want to comment. She says the trail plan has been drafted by the Center for Transportation Research and Education, which is interested in getting feedback from bike riders, residents and tourism and civic leaders.The trail will run two-thousand miles from Lake Itasca, Minnesota, to the Gulf of Mexico at New Orleans, Louisiana. Iowa’s proposed segment would pass through ten counties, all on the state’s far eastern border. Engstrom says the Saint Louis, Missouri-to-New Orleans segment of the river trail is already complete while the northern portion is still being plotted.She hopes some of the Iowa segments on pre-exisiting roads and trails could be marked and ready to go by 2004, while building new trails may take many years. The trail would pass through the following Iowa counties: Allamakee, Clayton, Clinton, Des Moines, Dubuque, Jackson, Lee, Louisa, Muscatine and Scott. To find links to the trail plan, go to the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation website at “www.inhf.org” and click on the Project News section.
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