Iowa Department of Natural Resources workers Wednesday placed three new bridges in Fort Defiance State Park, a huge step forward in rebuilding the park trails system.
Michael Pecenka, DNR construction technician, and J.B. Graham, construction technician assistant, brought four dock sections down the former toboggan run east of the lodge. They placed two of the bridges over Spring Creek where the Friends of Fort Defiance have worked on a trail over the past two summers. Graham used a loader to fill rock in the bank of School Section Creek so another dock section could be placed just downstream from where a former bridge was nearly washed out. A location is yet to be determined for where the fourth bridge will be placed.
“We have a new approach to building trails that is sustainable,” Pecenka said of building trails on more gradual slopes so they will withstand heavy rains. Much of the trail system at Fort Defiance was damaged by heavy rains May 2005. Pecenka said the DNR follows many of the suggestions of the International Mountain Bikers Association for trail construction.
With the floods in eastern Iowa this past summer now becoming a memory, the DNR is again able to focus on parks improvements statewide. Toward that end, Pecenka said 150 National Civilian Community Corps volunteers between ages 18-24 will be freed up to work on trails and other projects.
In addition to working to clean up after Hurricane Katrina and tornado-ravaged areas in Iowa, the NCCC crew worked on trail projects at Springdale and Honey Creek, Pecenka said.