Plans for a Raccoon River canoe trail running from Buena Vista County to Des Moines paddled forward Saturday with a planning meeting held in Jefferson.
Thirty-two people attended the session, including several state political and environmental leaders. Rusty Martin and Kay Meyer, both of Sac County, represented the local area.
Nate Hoogeveen, Canoe Trails Coordinator for the DNR, gave an overview of the Canoe Trails Program, and said that the department would be interested in the Raccoon River project, if a comprehensive plan can be formed.
Dan Tower, Greene County Conservation, shared plans for a canoe trail.
The current proposal is for the trail to span the entire North Raccoon. His proposal will include: bridge identification, access signage, informational stations at high traffic public areas along the river, danger warning signs, a brochure which will indicate float times between accesses, drinking water, and near-river facilities.
"A tentative agreement emerged from those present to work together to submit a multi county proposal if possible. Polk County has also expressed interest in a comprehensive plan," said Mike Delaney, head of the Raccoon River Association.
Also discussed was a study of water quality as it is impacted by the intensive farming in its river watershed. The North Raccoon is an important spawning stream for minnows and other fish, Delaney said.
The NRWA could help with steam chemical and biological assessment and could request IOWATER involvement in a comprehensive study of the watershed, Delaney said.
The Raccoon River Association plans to visit the Storm Lake area in the spring to launch one or more three-day float trips that would trace the entire navigable length of the Raccoon.