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Surfacing Repairs to the Wabash Trace

Please read below for information about upcoming surfacing needs to the Wabash Trace and consider contributing to the donation campaign so we can get the most bang for our buck - or limestone for our money, as it is...

Users of the Wabash Trace Nature Trail will notice some much-needed surface materials being added to the trail in the upcoming months. Southwest Iowa Nature Trails Project, Inc. (SWINT) is the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that maintains the Wabash Trace Nature Trail. The Wabash Trace is a former railroad corridor that was railbanked and turned into a recreational trail for bicyclists, hikers, runners, birdwatchers and other nature enthusiasts. The trail is now 30 years old, and although regular maintenance is done, there are some major projects that will need done to keep the Wabash Trace in good condition for the next 30 years. Extending from Council Bluffs through Mineola, Silver City, Malvern, Imogene, Shenandoah and Coin to Blanchard, Iowa, at the Missouri border, the trail is 63 miles long and has over 70 bridges. With the exception of about 4 miles of asphalt or concrete at Silver City, Malvern and Shenandoah, the trail surface is a crushed limestone. Some sections of the trail have had little to no surfacing replacement done since the trail was initially completed in the early 1990s. Besides the degradation of the surfacing over time due to regular use, it is erodible when we get heavy and continued amounts of rainfall in short periods of time, such as this spring. It is also susceptible to damage when used in vulnerable conditions, such as the spring thaw or when it is completely saturated. The SWINT Board voted to have the crushed limestone surfacing material spread on the northern most 5 ½ miles of the trail, roughly from Council Bluffs to the popular ‘Margaritaville’ area; and also on 1 ¼ miles of the trail between Imogene and Shenandoah. It is estimated that this will require over 35 loads of rock, for which the board has approved spending up to $20,000. Since SWINT is a private non-profit and doesn’t receive governmental support, the funds for this are raised from trail pass fees, donations and fundraisers. In addition to the surfacing itself, volunteers must do surface preparation, grading and tree trimming so that the trucks may clearly get down the trail. SWINT would like to challenge local individuals and businesses to help us match the funds needed to apply surfacing. SWINT hopes to be able to apply new surfacing for the entire length of the trail in the next 10 years or sooner. Bridge repairs, specifically for the two iconic overhead truss bridges over Silver Creek and the West Nishnabotna River, will be another focus of major maintenance projects in the upcoming years. If anyone would like to donate to the surfacing project to maximize the use of funding, please contact SWINT via Facebook @wabashtrace, email at, website at, or by calling Rebecca Castle at 515-210-0269.

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