21st American Trails International Trails Symposium

April 16, 2013


On the Path of Excellence


American Trails' 21st National Trails Awards Program honors people and programs at the 21st American Trails International Trails Symposium. The awards celebration was held at Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Arizona, April 16, 2013.

arrow See the previous Award Winners from 2010 - 2008 - 2006 - 2004 - 2002, and 2000.


2013 Trails and the Arts Award

This award recognizes outstanding public art projects, interpretive signs, or other creative structures associated with trail related improvements.


The High Trestle Trail Steering Committee and Partners

photo of bridge with giant steel square

The geometry of the steel “cribbing” is reminiscent of a mine tunnel


We are nominating the High Trestle Trail Steering Committee, the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF) RDG Dahlquist Art Studios and Shuck-Britson/Snyder and Associates for the 2013 Trails and Art Award. The nominees raised nearly $15 million to complete a 25 mile-long rail to trail project, including a 13 story tall “art bridge” that spans 1⁄2 mile from end to end in Central Iowa. See photos and read more about the High Trestle project...

The trail traces the former Union Pacific Railroad right of way through the heart of central Iowa. When the UPRR discontinued the corridor, the railroad removed the superstructure of the railroad bridge that crossed the broad Des Moines River valley west of Madrid, Iowa. However, the concrete piers remained and served as the foundation for construction of the new bridge crossing.

As the steering committee pursued the final $2.5 million to complete the trail and bridge it decided to include artistic and interpretive elements in the final bridge design. An Iowa Arts Council grant provided the seed money to hire an artist to develop concepts. The illustrated concepts of the bridge design were instrumental in helping the committee reach the fundraising goal.

photo of bridge with lights

Lights on the High Trestle Bridge


An Iowa artist, David B. Dahlquist, created a vision that weaved in the local coal mining history and regional geology. Steel “cribs” reminiscent of a coal mine shaft framed the bridge and four monolithic towers of “coal and limestone” formed a gateway. Lighting of the towers, cribs and piers became part of the plan as well. The new bridge design included six observation decks, a scenic overlook, and natural and cultural interpretive panels. See photos and read more about the art works for the bridge...

The resulting High Trestle Bridge is a dramatic structure that has become an icon for the Iowa trail system. The photogenic bridge has been featured in the American Trails Magazine (Spring 2011), Rails- to-Trails Conservancy magazine and 2012 calendar, Landscape Architecture Magazine, Iowa Public Television’s program “Iowa Outdoors,” Des Moines City View, and other local and region publications.

The trail receives approximately 500 visits daily and has inspired local artists to form organize into the High Trestle Trail Artist Community.


For more information:

Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation
505 5th Avenue, Suite 444, Des Moines IA 50309
Phone: (515) 288-1846 Fax: (515) 288-0136 Email: achase@inhf.org
Website: www.inhf.org


American Trails, P.O. Box 491797, Redding, CA 96049-1797(530) 547-2060
Fax: (530) 547-2035Symposium@americantrails.org www.AmericanTrails.org

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