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  • Tue April 12 2005
  • Posted Apr 12, 2005
Rolling Prairie Trail 90-miles from Lanesboro By Dave Simpkins Rolling Reporter The Root River Trail in Southeastern Minnesota is the inspiration for a new trail developing in Northeastern, Iowa according to an article printed in the Waterloo Courier. The Rolling Prairie Trail committee hopes a proposed 80-mile trail along abandoned rail will spur development and tourism as it has along the Root River. Jeff Kolb of Butler County Economic Development brought county conservation boards in Franklin, Butler and Bremer counties together so, one day, former lines could be linked from Coulter to Readlyn and eventually east to Oelwein, 90 miles south of Lanesboro. Organizers believe the Rolling Prairie Trail could be as successful as the 60-mile Root River Trail generating several million dollars in outside money. David Harrenstein, formerly of Waverly, is involved with the Rolling Prairie group and now lives in Lanesboro. He invited naysayers to visit his new hometown of Lanesboro on a typical weekend. "It's like RAGBRAI," he said. Kolb accepted the challenge and visited the area this summer. He took back roads and passed through several small towns. Then he hit Lanesboro. "You get there, and there are people all over the place," Kolb said. Visitors come from the Twin Cities and surrounding states, like Iowa. Sometimes people visit the Allison and Clarksville area because of the paved trail connecting the towns, but Kolb and members of the Rolling Prairie organization would like to replicate effects created by the Root River Trail. Toward that end, the Butler County Conservation Board recently received a $190,000 Resource Enhancement and Protection Program grant from the state. The money will fund completion of the trail into Wilder Park southeast of Allison and expansion of the trail into Heery Woods State Park south of Clarksville

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