Crews began cleaning red paint off a stretch of one of Iowa’s most popular bicycle trails Friday after vandals spilled paint on it for almost a mile between Madrid and Slater.

Paint was spread from U Avenue to the Big Creek Bridge, roughly three-fourths of a mile, the Boone County Conservation Board wrote in a Facebook post. The board believes the vandalism occurred Tuesday night into the early hours on Wednesday.

Boone County Park Ranger Blayne Sunstrom said Friday morning crews were figuring out how to bring water tanks to the vandalized part of the trail. Later crews began using heat and water to power wash paint off the trail.

“We’ve had to do some experiments with tanks to figure out how to get water going out there,” Sunstrom said around 9:30 a.m.

The 25-mile High Trestle Trail is known as one of Iowa’s best bike trails. Built on a decommissioned rail line the trail travels through five towns in four counties. Cyclists, runners and walkers love the route.

While the situation is upsetting, the community reaction has been overall positive, Sunstrom said. A motive has not been identified and Sunstrom believes the vandalism was random, he said.

“Everyone is obviously upset about the situation, it’s unfortunate but these things happen,” Sunstrom said. We’ll clean it up and move forward,” Sunstrom said.

With the time Boone County officials are spending cleaning the trail and the equipment needed to do it, Sunstrom estimated it will cost “a couple thousand dollars” to clean the trail.

Security cameras are already on the famed High Trestle Trail Bridge, but cameras are not on other parts of the trail, Sunstrom said. Security cameras are being considered for other parts of the trail, but the expense and difficulty installing cameras in rural areas being considered he said.






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