The Iowa Transportation Commission has approved more than $1.3 million for seven federal Recreational Trails Program projects.

DOT spokesman, Craig Markley, says a grant of nearly $97,000 will help rebuild a bridge for the Gypsum City Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) Park.

“What that does is it provides a connection to a couple of old gypsum mines that have been played out….and provides a great place for those motorcycles, those ATV’s to recreate,” Markley says.

A grant for more than  $110,000 goes to replacing a building at the Bluff Creek OHV Park in Mahaska County. Markley says the federal funding comes when the users buy gas.
“They pay fuel tax when they fill up their tanks — but they are not driving on the roadway system — so the Federal Recreational Trails Program returns a portion of that fuel tax they pay to the Federal Recreational Trails Program,” he explains.

Developers of the Carlisle multi-use trail are getting $400,000 to finish one of two portions of the trail left to complete.  Markley says when they get all the pieces finished you will be able to take the trail from Indianola on the Sommerset through Carlisle and up through Des Moines to all the other trail systems.

Dickinson County is receiving more than $285,000 for phase one of the Clay County trail connection. “This takes off from the city of Milford and heads south and will provide paving for one-point-three miles of that connection,” according to Markley. “Eventually it will connect to the city of Spencer. They’ve got a pretty good trail system that extends up to the north end of the city.” He says that trail could also eventually connect to other systems that lead to the Iowa Great Lakes.

Marshalltown received $300,000 for the Iowa River’s Edge Trail Paving from Radio Tower Road towards the Iowa River. “This is a trail that’s part of an abandoned railroad right of way corridor. And the commission they awarded funding to help the locals purchase that abandoned railroad right of way — and they have over the years been submitting applications and doing bits and pieces. It runs from the city of Marshalltown up to close to Iowa Falls,” Markley says.

The Jones County Conservation Board won 138-thousand dollars for phase two of the Wapsipinicon Trail. He says it is on the south side of Anamosa and will connect the city trail to the Hale Bridge on the south side of the Wapsipinicon State Park.

The Hale Bridge is an historic structure that took some work to save. “They had the National Guard come in with a Chinook (helicopter) and they picked up those three pieces and carried them over individually and set them piers, again, on the south side of the Wapsipinicon State Park,” Markley says.

The Transportation Commission approved the funding at their meeting Wednesday.