On Thursday, March 12, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) and the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF) will convene trails users, public health experts and business leaders to send a critical message to the state legislature: the time to invest in Iowa’s trails is now. The state legislature is debating trail funding, including how best to leverage the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund to invest in trails. According to RTC and INHF, millions of dollars are at stake, which could impact how Iowa’s trails are funded for the long-term.

At the rally, the organizations will release new data that illustrates the economic and health impact that trails deliver to Iowans, as well as emerging opportunities for the state to create regional trail systems—including the Great American Rail-Trail, a 3,700-mile-cross-country route that traverses Iowa and will connect the state to the nation. The rally comes after Gov. Kim Reynolds announced a commitment to investing in the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund earlier in the year.

Participants will discuss the economic development and public health benefits of trails and highlight the growing urgency surrounding the need for funding mechanisms like those provided by the “Invest in Iowa” Act, the Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund, and the Resource Enhancement and Protection grants.


WHAT: “Invest in Iowa’s Trails” Rally
WHEN: Thursday, March 12, 9:00 a.m. CDT
WHERE: North Side of the Capitol Building (1007 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines)
WHO: Transportation, trail, conservation, economic development, and public health experts, and business leaders.

Speakers include:

  • Andrea Boulton, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation
  • Brandi Horton, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
  • Jessica O’Riley, Iowa Economic Development Authority
  • Brad Anderson, AARP Iowa
  • Sarah Taylor Watts, Iowa Department of Public Health
  • Forrest Ridgeway, Bike World
  • Chris Wieting, Iowa River’s Edge Trail