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Let's Connect Trail Project

Raccoon River Valley Trail to the High Trestle Trail

Phase 1 of Trail Extension Now Open
Hotel Pattee Offers Overnight Stay for Trail Supporters

More Photos on Facebook.  Ribbon Cutting

Perry, Iowa (October 12, 2018) – The first segment of the 9-mile High Trestle Trail extension route that will connect Perry and Woodward and link to the Raccoon River Valley Trail is now open. The initial 1.5-mile paved path runs east from Perry starting north of the high school. Phase 1 construction took place throughout the summer and officially opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, October 12.

Addressing the crowd of nearly 100 spectators, Dallas County Conservation Board Director Mike Wallace said "The trail is now a reality for the community." 

Event speakers also included City of Perry Administrator Sven Peterson, Perry Community School District Superintendent Clark Wicks, and area landowner and trail supporter Kirk VanKirk. Perry High School Band provided the soundtrack for the bash, and the Hotel Pattee contributed refreshments for the event.

Hotel Pattee General Manager Aaron Lenz took to the podium for a special announcement. Earlier this summer, in honor of his birthday, 10-year-old Tate Boyd made $350 donation to the trail project. Lenz was inspired by young Boyd’s gesture and instantly wanted to support Tate’s enthusiasm. With Tate Boyd in the crowd, Lenz announced a matching challenge for trail supporters. Hotel Pattee is offering a free night stay to anyone who makes a matching $350 or more contribution between now and the end of January. Matching donors are also eligible for a free registration to the 2019 BRR Ride to be held February 2, 2019.

DCCB_Hotel FlyerTate Boyd with raccoon mascot

“Tate is very thrilled that it has taken off and people have been inspired to give!” said his mother Beth Ann Boyd.

Tate is an enthusiastic bicyclist, commuting to school on two wheels. Along with a few friends who made honorary contributions for this birthday donation, he was one of the first to ride the new trail segment. 

Eventually the Raccoon River Valley and High Trestle Trails will be linked between Perry and Woodward. Phase 2 of the Let’s Connect Project, slated to begin in 2019, will start in Woodward and work west. According to Mike Wallace, the 9-mile route, officially an extension of the High Trestle Trail has been mapped out and option agreements are in place. The $5 million project will continue moving forward as funding comes in.

If you’d like to contribute, contact the Dallas County Conservation Board at 515-465-3577 or click Donate Now at the top of this page.

DCCB2 ConnectPhase1 culvert1 low
Phase 1 Construction Continues East of Perry.

Local Boy’s Birthday Donation Inspires $7,000 in Additional Giving

Director Mike Wallace accepting donation from birthday boy Tate Boyd and his sisters Maggie and Lili

Earlier this summer, Tate Boyd of Urbandale celebrated his half birthday in a unique way. In lieu of gifts, the now 10.5-year old requested donations for the new bike trail that is being installed between Perry and Woodward. The thoughtfulness of the gesture was matched twentyfold throughout the remainder of his birthday month.

“Every donation helps move the project forward but few build community like the recent gift from Tate Boyd,” Dallas County Conservation Board Director Mike Wallace said. After Tate’s initial $350 donation, Wallace issued a matching challenge to trail supporters. This grassroots fundraising effort brought in nearly $7,000 in the weeks following. “I knew the trail community would rally behind Tate,” he said. “Let’s keep the momentum rolling as we connect the Raccoon River Valley and High Trestle Trails.”

One Dallas County Conservation Board supporter was especially inspired by the donation. So much so that they replicated the fundraising efforts for their own birthday. A social media campaign with friends and family brought in $1,400 from numerous contributors.

A $5,000 check at the end of the month helped boost the overall total to nearly $7,000 for the Let’s Connect Trail Project. While Raccoon River Valley and High Trestle Trails are two of Iowa’s premier trail systems, the new connector trail segment will link these networks. The paved paths are popular with bike riders and also provide recreational opportunities for runners, walkers, skiers, and skaters.

The first phase of this $5 million construction project is nearly complete as crews are finishing the initial 1.5 miles of trail starting in Perry and working east. The conservation board plans to open this segment in the coming weeks. Phase 2, slated to begin in 2019, will start in Woodward and work west. The entire 9-mile route has been mapped out and easements are in place. The project continues to move forward as funding comes in.

DCCB4 ConnectPhase1 pavement end low

If you’d like to support the project, contact the Dallas County Conservation Board at 515-465-3577 or visit online at www.dallascountyiowa.gov/conservation or www.letsconnectdallascounty.com.

 

Local Boy Gives a $350 Gift to Let's Connect for His Birthday 

"The challenge to trail supporters is to see how many matching $350 gifts for the connector project can be made by the end of August. It would be great to turn Tate’s $350 gift into thousands more.” Mike Wallace, Dallas County Conservation Board Director

As now 10.5-year old Tate Boyd recently celebrated his half birthday, one thing was conspicuously missing. There were plenty of friends to share in the fun, and lots of cake to go around, but there weren’t many gifts to unwrap. Instead of presents, the Urbandale boy requested donations for a local cause of his choosing. Tate is an enthusiastic bike rider, so he donated his birthday haul to the Connector Bike Trail Project which is constructing a new path between Perry and Woodward.

Tate celebrated with a joint birthday party and his sisters Maggie and Lili. The birthday boy said that his family already has everything they need, so instead of gifts they now give donations.  Family members have made celebratory contributions to hospitals and animal rescue organizations throughout central Iowa.

All three children agreed this was the best birthday ever according to their mother Beth Ann Boyd. "They got just as much joy out of collecting money for charity," she said.

Tate, along with his family, recently made the trek to the Dallas County Conservation Board offices at the Forest Park Museum to deliver a $350 check to Director Mike Wallace. After handing over the contribution, the soon-to-be 5th grader stated that someday he’d really like to ride his bike from the museum all the way to the High Trestle Trail.

“The $350 contribution is a sizable gift for anyone,” said Director Wallace, “but we were especially impressed by the thoughtfulness of this gesture.”

Wallace continued, “I thought how can we enhance his generosity even more. So, let’s leverage Tate’s donation. The challenge to trail supporters is to see how many matching $350 gifts for the connector project can be made by the end of August. It would be great to turn Tate’s $350 gift into thousands more.”

While Raccoon River Valley and High Trestle Trails are two of Iowa’s premier trail systems, the new connector trail segment will link these networks. The paved paths are popular with bike riders and also provides recreational opportunities for runners, walkers, skiers, and skaters. The first phase of this $5 million project is already underway as crews are constructing the initial 1.5 miles of trail starting in Perry and working east.

If you would like to match Tate Boyd’s gift, or make a birthday contribution of your own, contact the Dallas County Conservation Board at 515-465-3577 or visit online at www.dallascountyiowa.gov/conservation or www.letsconnectdallascounty.com

 Let's Connect Phase I Pavement Installation
The first phase of this $5 million project is already underway as crews are constructing the initial 1.5 miles of trail starting in Perry and working east.

Connector Trail to Receive $100,000 Boost from Prairie Meadows
Dallas County Conservation Board Receives Legacy Grant

Dallas County Conservation Board was the recipient of a $100,000 Prairie Meadows Legacy Grant. Sixteen Legacy Grants were awarded this year. The donation to the Dallas County Conservation Board will help to fund the construction of the 9-mile Connector Trail. This new trail segment will run between Perry and Woodward and links the Raccoon River Valley and High Trestle Trails.
Let's Connect Phase I, July 2018

Conservation Board Executive Director Mike Wallace states, “We really appreciate the awarded Legacy Grant from Prairie Meadows.  Many times these types of grants end up leveraging additional contributions from others for our project, all of which will help us continue moving forward with the construction of such an important trail.”  

The Raccoon River Valley and High Trestle Trails are two of Iowa’s premier trail systems. The new connector trail will expand these networks, providing unparalleled recreation access for bikers, runners, walkers, skiers, and skaters. The first phase of this $5 million project is already underway as crews construct the initial 1.5 miles of trail starting in Perry and working east.

This year Prairie Meadows awarded a record $5 million to deserving charities and organizations through their Community Betterment and Legacy Grant programs. In total, 266 grants were given to organizations throughout Central Iowa. The annual Community Impact Luncheon to honor the recipients will be held on Tuesday, July 24. 

“As a nonprofit organization, Prairie Meadows fulfills its mission by giving back to organizations that support arts and culture, education, economic development, and human services. We are excited to see the impact these grants will have on our Central Iowa community,” said Julie Stewart, Prairie Meadows’ Director of Community Relations. 

Raccoon River Valley Trail Nominated for Rails-to-Trails Hall of Fame
Raccoon River Valley Trail Hall of FameThe Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a national nonprofit organization aiming to create a network of trails from former rail lines, recently announced their nominations for the Rail-to-Trails Hall of Fame. At 89-miles and growing, central Iowa’s Raccoon River Valley Trail was the longest trail on this year’s list. Hall of Fame voting occurred in mid-July. Winners of the online voting will be announced later this summer.

The Raccoon River Valley Trail, along with trails in Indiana, Illinois, Washington, and Idaho, are all areas that were identified based on noteworthy features including: scenic value, use, trail and trailside amenities, historical significance, management and maintenance, community connections, and other Hall-of-Fame-worthy merits. 

2018 National Rails to Trails Conservancy's Dopplet Fund Grant Announces Recipients of its 2018 Doppelt Family Trail Development Fund Grants - News Release - May 23, 2018

 WASHINGTON, D.C.—Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC)announced the recipients of its 2018 Doppelt Family Trail Development Fund grants, with an emphasis on strategic investments that support significant regional and community trail development goals.

The Doppelt Fund supports small, regional projects that are vital to trail systems but often fall through the cracks of traditional funding streams. RTC received nearly $5.5 million in application requests for the 2018 grant cycle, demonstrating the national reality of unmet trail funding needs.

 “Trail managers commonly express frustration as they seek funding for projects that address important trail maintenance and development needs,” said Eli Griffen, RTC’s manager of trail development resources and the manager of the Doppelt Fund grant program. “These projects are often smaller in scope and scale, making them hard to finance within traditional funding streams. This grant program provides important resources communities need—in some cases, raising awareness of a project within the community, and in others, maintaining trails or providing the match funding necessary to acquire a corridor and build the trail.”

 The 2018 Doppelt Fund grantees mark the largest pool of RTC-funded projects to date, with more than $140,000 invested in 10 projects nationwide. The fund was bolstered by an additional $40,000 legacy gift from North Carolina Rail-Trails, Inc. and a $20,000 gift from an anonymous donor.“We are honored to be selected as one of the ten recipients in the nation to be awarded the 2018 Rails to Trails Conservancy’s Doppelt Fund Grant.

 Dallas County Conservation Board (Iowa), receiving $15,000 for the acquisition of six parcels of land required to extend the iconic High Trestle Trail to the Raccoon River Valley Trail north of Des Moines.

 “The projects that we were able to fund this year are incredible,” said Jeff Doppelt, a philanthropist from Great Neck, New York. “Through a relatively small investment, we’re able to complete and connect iconic trails and improve the trail user experience. Hundreds of these types of projects exist all over the country; it’s important that people begin to understand that the need far outweighs the funding available. These projects are essential to building and maintaining the trails that so many of us love and that communities rely upon for recreation, transportation and economic vitality.”

Established in 2015, the Doppelt Family Trail Development Fund is a way to move forward critical projects that enhance health and transportation connectivity in their regions.

 "This $15,000 grant will help us continue to move forward with our Raccoon River Valley Trail to High Trestle Trail Connector project. This 9 mile project will connect two of the premier trail systems in the state. The grant will allow us to acquire some of the last parcels needed for the project. We would then continue with our construction as funds allow, commented Mike Wallace, Director, Dallas County Conservation Board”.

To date over 55% of the estimated project costs of $5 million have been raised. The Dallas County Conservation Board is currently in the process of constructing the first 1.56 miles of the trail this summer. This Phase I Construction will start in Perry at 18th street and go east to 130th street. Additional construction phases will happen as additional funds are received. If you would like to contribute towards this important project go to: www.letsconnectdallascounty.com or contact the Dallas County Conservation Board at 515-465-3577.

Connector project approved for funding from the State Recreation Trails Program - News Release - 10/10/17

The Dallas County Conservation Board has received approval for funding for a State Recreational Trails Grant from the Iowa DOT.  A grant for $366,000 has been approved for the
“Connector” project, which is the 9 mile trail project connecting the Raccoon River Valley Trail to the High Trestle Trail (Perry to Woodward).  “This grant will be used along with some other donations and potential grants to do the first phase (1.5 miles) of construction of this $5 million project”, stated Mike Wallace, Director of the Dallas County Conservation Board.  Earlier grants have been used for trail route feasibility, preliminary design, and land acquisition.  This phase of construction is preliminarily planned for some time during the 2018 construction season.  Approximately $2 million has been raised so far.   

Farm Credit Services of America - $2000.00Farm Credit Services donation

 Andrea Tunink is shown presenting a check for $2000 for the “Connector” project to Mike Wallace, Director of the Dallas County Conservation Board.  “We really appreciate their support and their donation of time and funds to help our department." stated Wallace, "they are great supporters of our community."

 

Wallace and DCF


Wellmark Foundation - $90,000.00

The Wellmark Foundation Board of Directors approved a $90,000 Large MATCH Grant for the Raccoon River Valley Trail to High Trestle Trail Connector - Phase I.  The Wellmark Foundation stated, "We are delighted in the work you are doing to make Iowa a better place for all of us to engage in a safe and healthy environment in which to be active".  

 

Dallas County Foundation
Bob and Jane Sturgeon, Dallas County Foundation  - $10,000.00 

Bob and Jane Sturgeon donated $10,000.00 through the Dallas County Foundation. Mike Wallace, Director of the Dallas County Conservation Board stated, "We are honored by the donation of the Sturgeons and the Dallas County Foundation.  With their support we hope to make the trails of Dallas County, and those that connect to them, an integral part of the State of Iowa".

 

bike07

 

Dallas "Pete" and Joyce VanKirk of Perry - $100,000.00

The Dallas County Conservation Board received a major donation of $100,000 from Joyce VanKirk and her late husband, Dallas “Pete” VanKirk.

Pictured with the donation check are Joyce and Mike Wallace, Dallas County Conservation Board Director.  

 

 

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LET'S CONNECT!

A Fundraising Campaign to Connect Two Trails

Donate Now

Join the "LET'S CONNECT” fundraising campaign to support a 9-mile connector trail between Perry and Woodward! 

This project will link two of the premier recreational trails in Iowa – the Raccoon River Valley Trail (RRVT) and the High Trestle Trail (HTT).  This new connection of two major trails will create an 86 mile loop and an 118 mile loop, allowing trail users more options than ever before! 

Approximately $5 million will be needed to build what is projected to be a crucial connection in the central Iowa trail network, which now includes more than 600 miles of paved trails and connects more than twenty-four towns around the Des Moines metro area and beyond.  Join the campaign and pledge to donate!

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Let's Connect Bike Trail

“Let’s Connect”

Support the 9-mile “connector” trail between Perry and Woodward that links two of the premier recreational trails in Iowa:

Raccoon River Valley Trail

&

High Trestle Trail

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Raccoon River Valley Trail to High Trestle Trail “Connector” Project

Dallas County Conservation Board (DCCB)

 

PROJECT  STATUS

Total Project Cost (9 miles Perry to Woodward) $5,000,000

Over 53% of the funds raised $2,688,405

Remaining amount to raise $2,311,595

 Feasibility Route Study/partial preliminary design

          Completed 

 Phase I Construction (Perry to 130th street, 1.56 miles proposed)

Phase I Construction (Funding in place, a contract for the construction work has been awarded, the 1.56 miles will be completed by the end of the 2018 construction season).

 The DCCB is in the process of fundraising for this important 9 mile project that will connect the Raccoon River Valley Trail (RRVT) to the High Trestle Trail (HTT).  The search for additional grants, donations, and pledges will continue.  This project will be built in phases over a period of a few years.  Phase I construction is planned for 2018.  Acquisition and design continues.

  • As of 5-29-18 (53%) $2,688,405 of the $5 million has been raised.
  • Federal, State, and County (Public) funding to date $1,775,487.
  • Private Funding to date $912,918.
  • Over 775 documented individual private donors!

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*****Connect Funds to Date********************************************************************************************************************************

Raccoon River Valley Trail to High Trestle Trail Connector

Trail project information

  • 9 mile connection.
  • Paved (concrete) trail, 10 ft. wide, 6” thick.
  • Connects two of the best trails in the state of Iowa.
  • Connects the 89 mile RRVT to the 25 mile (and growing) HTT and into the Des Moines metro trail system.
  • These two trails both have been responsible for the creation of new businesses in trail communities.
  • This project will create a network of communities that consists of 20 communities and 6 counties.
  • Allows multiple trail system users the opportunity to view the iconic High Trestle Trail “Bridge” and the Grand Daddy of them all the “Raccoon River Valley Trail” via the same network of trails.
  • Connects the HTT to the north loop of the RRVT which contains the “longest paved loop trail” in the nation.
  • Connects trails that are designated as: part of the American Discovery Trail, a “National Recreation Trail”, and also designated as a “Millennium Trail”.
  • Both trails are classified as Category I trails, the highest classification of statewide significance.
  • This project will complete a missing link in the Central Iowa Trail Network.
  • Tourism numbers and economic opportunities have increased due to these two trails.Trails provide one of the highest “Quality of Life” opportunities in our society.
  • Hundreds of thousands of people utilize these two trails every year and connecting these trails will bring additional users to our communities.
  • Trails provide a positive economic impact on the Central Iowa region.In a 2016 ISU study it was found that $6-$20 per person per trail visit is spent on the Raccoon River Valley Trail in Dallas County.

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Project Location Map

Raccoon River Valley Trail to High Trestle Trail “Connector” project

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 Central Iowa Trails network

This project is an important addition to the Central Iowa Trails network.

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DONATIONS/FINANCIAL SUPPORT

Many of the funds that will be used to construct this trail come from federal and state grant dollars.  These grants usually are in the form of matching grants. These matching dollars are needed from private sources and donors.

If you donate $1,000 or more, you may choose to receive recognition at each trailhead.

Donation Levels listed on Donor recognition sign:

  • $1000 - $4999
  • $5000 - $24,999
  • $25,000 - $49,999
  • $50,000 - $99,999
  • $100,000 +

Donor Recognition Sign examples:

 Donor Recognition sign examplesdono recognition 2

Private donations and pledges will be used as matching dollars which will significantly leverage each dollar donated privately.

On behalf of the Dallas County Conservation Board and the many partners and supporters of this project, we are asking for your financial support of this “Let’s Connect” project.  Attached to this packet you will find a donation/pledge sheet that you may use to make a contribution.  Your contributions can be made to the Dallas County Conservation Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) organization that assists and supports the Dallas County Conservation Board in its projects.  Your financial contribution would be leveraged into significant other dollars to make this project successful.  

You can also donate to the Dallas County Conservation Board on line for this project by going to www.letsconnectdallascounty.com and click on the Donate Online button.

 Please help us “Connect” the Raccoon River Valley Trail to the High Trestle Trail.  To help support this trail project or for more information on donating for this project, contact Mike Wallace, Director, Dallas County Conservation Board, 14581 K Ave., Perry, Iowa 50220, 515-465-3577,

Email: mike.wallace@dallascountyiowa.gov.

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 Let's Connect Bike Trail

 Support the 9-mile “connector” between Perry and Woodward that links two outstanding trails:

Raccoon River Valley Trail & High Trestle Trail

Your gift will provide matching funds needed to secure public/private grants and other major support for this project!  Please donate or pledge today to the Dallas County Conservation Foundation. 

You may also donate online to the Dallas County Conservation Board at www.letsconnectdallascounty.com

 

  My gift of $ _________is enclosed.

  Make all checks out to:

Dallas County Conservation Foundation

14581 K Ave.

Perry, Iowa 50220

Ph. 515-465-3577

 

FirstName__________________________LastName_________________________________

Address ____________________ City ______________ State _________ Zip_________

Phone __________________  email _____________________________Date___________

For more information please contact Mike Wallace, Director, Dallas County Conservation Board

Email: mike.wallace@dallascountyiowa.gov Ph. 515-465-3577.

If you donate $1,000 or more, you may choose to receive recognition at each trailhead.

Donation Levels listed on Donor recognition sign:

  • $1000 - $4999
  • $5000 - $24,999
  • $25,000 - $49,999
  • $50,000 - $99,999
  • $100,000 +

The Dallas County Conservation Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) organization.