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  • Tue March 22 2022
  • Posted Mar 22

Trail Growth & Realignment Keeps Popular Network Active

Iowa’s vast trail network is constantly evolving and expanding to meet the changing needs of trail users and commercial development efforts. Originating in the southwest corner of Des Moines, the Great Western Trail is a prime example of this evolution. First opened in 1992, this popular trail system has undergone several expansion and realignment projects over the years that have kept it updated and available for recreational use. The planners and engineers with Snyder & Associates have been active in many of these improvements, partnering with both public and private entities in the process.

Expansion Project Ties Trail to Local Network

Beginning on the southern edge of Water Works Park near downtown Des Moines, the Great Western Trail meanders through both urban and rural landscapes as it winds its way south to the community of Martensdale. This nearly 19-mile-long route, however, was lacking a critical connection to the Des Moines local trail network. Our team worked with multiple organizations to create a trail link that filled this gap.

In consultation with Polk County Conservation and the City of Des Moines, our team designed a one-mile-long, hard-packed, gravel trail extension to connect the paved portion of the Great Western Trail to the Bill Riley Trail to the east. Running parallel to George Flagg Parkway to Southwest 30th Street, this trail section mainly follows a former railroad right-of-way through a heavily wooded area.


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