Crew members carry forth these lessons and passion into their communities and future endeavors.
The Iowa DNR’s Trails program uses AmeriCorps funds, Resource Enhancement and Protection funds, and Lake Restoration funds, combined with Recreational Trails Program dollars administered by the Iowa DOT to build and maintain multi-use hiking, equestrian, mountain bike, cross-country ski, and snowmobile trails in Iowa’s state parks.
A full-time program staff of three manages full-time and seasonal AmeriCorps members who work with hand tools and power equipment to build sustainable new trails and maintain old trail systems, many of which were laid out by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Trail crew members learn environmental stewardship, community service, leadership, teamwork, and a responsible work ethic.
Crew members carry forth these lessons and passion into their communities and future endeavors. They also provide training to their partners such as park friends groups, county conservation boards, and trail user clubs in basic trail preventive maintenance and environmental stewardship.
Each year the crew develops and maintains trail and trail infrastructure that reduces soil runoff and mitigates human impact on the land while providing safe recreational opportunities. They build pedestrian bridges, boardwalks, retaining walls, benches, trailhead signs, accessibility improvements, fencing, hand rail, check steps, box steps, etc., and provide safe, sustainable, and stable trail tread for recreation.
Projects vary widely and are selected using criteria developed by the Iowa DNR Trails program staff encompassing concerns such as safety, environmental impact, immediate need, and volunteer support.
The program has been highly successful for over 13 years using AmeriCorps crews and before that for many years with prison crews and interns.
2021: Evans Creek ORV Area
2020: Monadnock Trail Improvement Project
2019: Lassen Peak Trail
2018: Pole Mountain Trails - Wyoming
2017: Arizona Conservation Corps Mogollon Rim Ancestral Lands Trail Crew - Arizona
2016: Rock Creek Park Bridge Project - District of Columbia
2016: Utah Conservation Corps Bike Crew - Utah
2014: Alaska Trails Mobile Tool Trailers
2013: Leicester Hollow Loop Trail - Vermont
2012: Mount Yale Trail Realignment - Colorado
2011: Anchorage Hillside Singletrack Trail System - Alaska
2010: Hyde Park Heritage Greenway - New York
2009: North Bend Lake Equestrian Trail - West Virginia
2007: Continental Divide Trail Alliance Youth Corps
2006: Swallow Falls Trails and Muddy Creek Falls Overlook - Maryland
2005: Superior Hiking Trail - Minnesota
2004: North Fork I and II Trail Projects - Oregon