• Linh Ta
  • Mon March 12 2018
  • Posted Mar 12, 2018

BIKEIOWA note: We realized many of these regulations already exist. The changes will be to switch the regulations to ordinances which are more enforceable with fines and jail time. Regardless of the outcome, The High Trestle Bridge is one of the Top 10 trail bridges in the United States and the number of visitors per month is outstanding. People from all over the world visit the High Trestle Trail and Boone County is lucky enough to have a world-class asset like this in their county. It is time to treat the trail like a world-class trail. The High Trestle Bridge is at a point that it deserves consistent and concise rules, regulations and ordinances for the entire trail for all jurisdictions. Not just the Boone Country portion. These changes will be super-confusing for visitors and we can only assume the trail will only be littered with more signage advising of the different rules, regulations and ordinances for different parts of the trail. With a world-class asset comes more responsibility for the governing bodies. We're sure the number of visitors and the burden of maintaining a trail of this stature is overwhelming. But are the changes stemming from a few bad apples? or is this more wide-spread? Are the problems stemming from locals? folks from the metro? state-side visitors? out-of-state visitors? Knowing this may help to alleviate the problems by focusing on the bad apples and leaving more time to develop a word-class (and consistent) trails authority for the High Trestle Trail.

#1 - We ask that you attend the Boone County Conservation Board Meeting tonight (Monday May 12th). If you cannot attend, please send comments to Tanner J. Scheuermann, Executive Director as PLEASE be aware that these regulations already exist and are not easily enforceable because they are not ordinances. We'd ask you to send you comments to the Boone County Conservation Board Members, but their emails are not listed online. The Boone Country Conservation Staff's emails are listed online.

View the current High Trestle Trail Regulations (pdf).

Our focus is on consistent and concise rules, regulations and ordinances for the entire world-class trail, not each jurisdiction.

Thanks for getting involved !


Trail users who crack open a beer along the High Trestle Trail may find themselves with a citation and owing some money.

On Monday, the Boone County Conservation Board will hold a public hearing regarding an ordinance that would ban all alcohol consumption on the trail. In addition, more park rangers and deputies will patrol the trail and work to find people who are breaking laws this year, said Tanner Scheuermann, executive director of Boone County Conservation.

Conservation officials saythere have been problems with people throwing beer cans along the trail and over a popular bridge. It's also trying to keep the trail "family friendly" by cracking down on public drinking, Scheuermann said.

Currently, there are no county ordinances about drinking on the trail, but there are state laws about public intoxication and open containers. Both the county attorney's office and the sheriff's department approached the conservation board about adopting a new regulation, Scheuermann said.

With an ordinance, rangers and deputies could give trail users citations putting them on the hook for a still-undetermined fine, Scheuermann said.The conservation board is also adding a seasonal park ranger position, which will also bring more attention to the trail.

In 2017, three people were arrested on the trail for alcohol-related crimes, according to the Boone County Sheriff's Office.

"We don’t want to arrest these people and give them a criminal history, but we want to let people know we’re cracking down," Scheuermann said.

Since opening in 2011, the 25-mile stretch from Ankeny to Woodward has become a bicycle-tourism mecca, sprouting cottage industries that cater to cyclists. Oases such as the Nite Hawk Bar & Grill in Slater and the Flat Tire Lounge in Madrid pack in thousands of riders on busy summer weekends.

It is the most popular bike trail in Iowa, with an average of 40,000 people visiting the bridge every month over the summer. The trail goes through four counties.

Boone's jurisdiction of the trail stretches from Slater to Woodward, but excludes Madrid.

The ordinance banning alcohol consumption would hurt the towns and businesses along the trail, said Jay Kennedy, former part-time owner of Flat Tire Lounge. If there are more regulations, people will start using other trails, he said.

"The amount of energy and tax dollars that it would take to attempt to make it alcohol-free would be just a big waste of money and expenses," Kennedy said. "There’s much better things for conservation and the sheriff’s office to focus on rather than the consumption of beer, wine or alcohol on a trail."

Most people drinking along the trail want to have fun and clean up after themselves, Kennedy said. It's popular for bikers and other trail users to bring beers with them and stop for a break.

Some other "bad apples," though, can be found partying along the trail or passed out on benches,said Scott Sumpter, who runs

However, the ordinance could be confusing because it's not consistent along the entire trail, Sumpter said.

Polk County, one of the counties the trail goes through, does not have any ordinances addressing the High Trestle Trail.

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