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Friends of Fort Defiance commit money to trail

February 12, 2013
By Michael Tidemann - Staff Writer , Estherville Daily News

The Friends of Fort Defiance at their meeting Tuesday night at the Estherville Public Library community room agreed to spend $2,000 toward crushed limestone for the Whitetail Ridge interpretive trail.

The trail extends from the west parking lot of Fort Defiance State Park to just west of the old ranger's cabin. Currently, woodchips cover part of the trail. However, vegetation continues to break through the covering. To ensure a longer life for the trail, the group is looking at putting down fabric and 400 tons of crushed limestone.

Friends members and students from Gary Phillips' environmental studies program at Iowa Lakes Community College built the trail which follows Iowa Department of Natural Resources guidelines for low-gradient trails that will withstand the elements.

It's the third trail the Friends group has built, the others being the prairie trail and the Spring Creek trail. The trail kiosk in the west parking lot was built by Iowa Lakes construction trades students in Emmetsburg.

Members plan on applying for an Emmet County Community Foundation grant to help cover part of the cost of the $10,520.00 project.

Members noted a number of individuals who had volunteered to help with trail construction and plan to tap into their expertise when time comes for trail construction.

In other business, Mike Watt showed two woodburnings he had done of the lodge which he said he would like to donate for a fundraiser for the Friends. Watt found the wood from a burn pile at the park.

The group agreed that the woodburnings would make great raffle items and agreed on a price of $2 a ticket or six for $10. The artworks will later be on display during the Neighborhood Artist Review and at Little Swan Lake Winery.

The group also elected officers for 2013. They include: president, Dave Seylar; vice president, John Wittneben; treasurer, Laura Young; and secretary, Mike Tidemann.

Annual dues are $10 for either individuals or families are now due and may be sent to: Friends of Fort Defiance, P.O. Box 314, Estherville, IA 51334. Dues go to help such projects as trail construction and maintenance, environmental education and Fort Defiance Day. The group has a long-term goal of putting modern restrooms and showers in the campground to help enhance campers' experience, encouraging them to stay longer and spend more money in Estherville.

The third annual Fort Defiance Day will be Sept. 28.



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