Raccoon River Valley Trail in final three for Hall of Fame

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Adel's lighted bridge beautifies the Raccoon River Valley Trail. Photo courtesy RRVT Association


The pergola at the Waukee trailhead of the Raccoon River Valley Trail is lighted at night. Photo courtesy RRVT Association

The Raccoon River Valley Trail (RRVT) is one of only three rail-trails to be nominated this year for the Hall of Fame of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. Hall of Fame selection is done through a public vote which takes place July 30 through Aug. 6.

The voting form will be available on the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy website once voting starts July 30. If the RRVT is selected, it would join more than 30 iconic trails nationally recognized in the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame.

“Being nominated for the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame is an honor,” said Mike Wallace, executive director of the Dallas County Conservation Board and RRVT Association board member. “Winning the vote would not only bring the RRVT national attention but also bring trail enthusiasts as tourists to central Iowa.”

At 89 miles, the RRVT is the longest paved loop in the nation, offering views of agricultural landscapes, woodlands and prairies. The route connects 14 communities in Dallas, Guthrie, and Greene counties. A unique part of the RRVT is the artwork located along the trail, including Adel’s colorful “lighted bridge” and the City of Waukee’s 350-foot-long gateway pergola at the trailhead.

When the Raccoon River Valley Trail first opened in 1989, few major trails existed in Iowa but since its opening, it was enthusiastically embraced by locals and visitors to the region. The trail is not only a tourist engine and vital asset for health and wellness but a way to bring together people through various programs and events, from statewide races to local 5Ks.

Hall of Fame nominees are selected on merits such as scenic value, high use, trail and trailside amenities, historical significance, excellence in management and maintenance of facility, community connections and geographic distribution. The other two 2021 nominees are the Northern Rail Trail in New Hampshire and the Georgetown-Lewes Trail and Junction and Breakwater Trail in Delaware.

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