Members of the Friends of Fort Defiance made good progress - let's make that great progress - on laying the crushed limestone surface on the Whitetail Ridge Interpretive Trail Thursday night.
As a bucket dumped rock, Dave Seylar, president; John Wittneben, vice president; and Laura Young, treasurer smoothed the surface evenly, a thick layer of landscaping material beneath.
The limestone surfacing idea came up when the Friends group tried in vain for several years to keep down vegetation with woodchips - an effort that proved fruitless as grass and weeds continued to poke through. So the group committed $2,000 to the project, with another $500 coming from a Round Up grant from Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative.
Friends of Fort Defiance members Dave Seylar, president; John Wittneben, vice president; and Laura Young, treasurer smoothed out the gravel.
EDN photo by Michael Tidemann
Work includes installing a 15-inch culvert to handle flowage from an above-ground stream just before the trail loop begins.
The three-quarter-mile trail extends from a kiosk at the west parking lot to a loop that goes to just west of the old ranger cabin that hasn't been used since a ranger was in the park well over 20 years ago. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources, which owns the park, plans to tear the cabin down once demolition money is available. According to Wittneben, former Friends president and prior Iowa state representative, the ranger cabin tested with a higher radon rating than any other state property.
When completed, the nearly flat trail will make an excellent surface for hiking, pushing baby strollers or cross-country runners in training.
Anyone who would like to help with the next trail work session can meet at the park west parking lot 6 p.m. Tuesday. Please bring plenty of bug spray, water and a garden rake.
Anyone who would like to join the Friends of Fort Defiance may send a check for $10 for either individual or family memberships to: Friends of Fort Defiance, P.O. Box 314, Estherville, IA 51334.