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The network of trails is a feature that encourages residents to enjoy the outdoors

To draw people, a community has to have something in addition to good-paying jobs, nice houses and quality schools.

People are looking for something to do away from work, something that will enhance their quality of life. Recreation opportunities are what they’re seeking.

Walking or running on trails is a popular way to get outside, escape from everyday concerns and stay fit. And compared to so many other forms of recreation, walking or running on trails is pretty cheap. Buying a comfortable pair of shoes is likely the biggest investment someone will have to make to enjoy the trails.

The popularity of trails isn’t lost on local leaders.

More than a decade ago, a trails committee that included representatives of Fort Dodge and Webster County was organized. Its members planned trails and assembled public and private sources of money to pay for them.

The result is a network that enables someone to go from Iowa Central Community College on the west side of Fort Dodge to John F. Kennedy Memorial Park north of the city without departing from a trail.

Work is underway to expand that trail system and fill some gaps in it. The city has received a $400,000 state Community Attraction and Tourism grant to help pay for trail improvements.


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