Story County Conservation staff has started preliminary work on the Touch-A-Life trail at McFarland Park in anticipation of trail closure, through the end of September.
On Monday, September 17, staff and volunteers from Ames Town & Country Kiwanis will begin pouring cement on the trail. This project will pave 1,300 feet of trail, from the end of the dam on the north side, to the culverts on the east side of McFarland Lake.
The north section of the Touch-A-Life Trail will be closed to park users from Friday, September 14 through Friday, September 28. “Park users can still use the remainder (east, west and south sides) of the trail, and the rest of our trail system throughout McFarland Park,” SCC Ranger Ryan Wiemold said.
This portion of the project will increase accessibility and convenience for all park users. “We will eventually hard surface the whole Touch-A- Life Trail around McFarland Lake,” Wiemold said. “This next stretch will complete 75 percent of the trail, which will allow handicap accessibility farther around the lake.” Currently, the unfinished portion of the trail is crushed rock.
“The Ames Town & Country Kiwanis have been very involved in this project, previously providing many volunteer hours,” Wiemold said. The Kiwanis group have donated and obtained low cost materials for the project. Over the years, the trail has seen a number of improvements – butterfly garden, benches, handicapped accessible picnic area, and a fishing dock – almost all of which were accomplished with the help of various individuals and groups.
During construction, Wiemold asks park users to use caution, be aware of their surroundings, and have patience. “Logistically, this project will prove to be difficult due to the landscape. This portion of the trail is narrow, curved, and is cut into a gently sloping hill covered by trees,” he explained. “Getting equipment where we need will be one of the hurdles we face with this project. Coordination among staff, volunteers, and concrete drivers, plus having resources readily available will be paramount to a smooth operation. Our staff and volunteers are up to the challenge, and we look forward to the end result of this project.”
The Touch-a-Life Trail continues to be a focal point of the park and provides access to three picnic sites, the fishing dock, and perhaps most importantly gives visitors easy access to a diverse range of habitats in a small area.
For more information about this project, contact Ranger Ryan Wiemold at 515-232-6809 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. For Touch-A-Life Trail project updates, visit SCC online: www.facebook.com/storycountyconservation.
Story County Conservation manages more than 3,000 acres of parks and natural areas, including lakes, campgrounds, and trails. The environmental education staff serves Story County schools and the public with interpretive and informational programs for all ages. Story County Conservation's volunteer program provides volunteer opportunities to individuals and groups interested in making a difference in local natural resources. No individual will be excluded from events conducted by Story County Conservation because of a disability or impairment. To request accommodations to participate, contact Story County Conservation.
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Story County Conservation