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DES MOINES, Iowa – With the arrival of spring break and warmer temps, trails in central Iowa are starting their busy season already.

What’s new in 2022 for those trail users? A lot.

Let’s start with a new trail and the first step to connecting Lake Red Rock’s Volksweg Trail to the Des Moines Metro. While that connection is years away, in 2022 Monroe will be connected to Prairie City and the Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge. Jasper County Conservation Director Keri VanZante is excited to bring a “long skinny park”, about 10 miles long, to this part of the county. VanZante expects heavy use by walkers and skaters in addition to cyclists because of the lack of good sidewalks in the small communities on the trail. Work will begin in April and finish by the end of summer on the first phase, Monroe to Prairie City, with the second phase running to Mitchellville beginning as soon as funding is in place. VanZante thinks the second phase could start in 2023 or 2024, depending on grants and other fundraising.

In Polk County, work is already underway to replace the bridge over Beaver Creek on the Trestle to Trestle Trail. This bridge replaces one destroyed by ice in 2020. The new bridge comes with a price tag of $2 million and includes an overlook area and other features reminiscent of the original trestle-style bridge. Construction here should be done by fall of 2022. Until then be sure to give the construction crews plenty of space. Watch the progress here.

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