Study: Proposed National Bike Trail Would Net Iowa $14M+ From Tourism Each Year

Statewide Iowa — A new report details the economic benefits of a proposed pedestrian and bike trail running from Washington DC to Washington state, including an Iowa segment stretching from the Mississippi River to the Missouri.

Kevin Belanger, project manager of the Great American Rail-Trail, says the ambitious effort could generate a major financial boost for the communities and states it serves.

A study estimates the full trail could generate more than 229-million dollars in visitor spending every year, along with 104-million in labor income and nearly 23-million in new tax revenue. Iowa already boasts many hundreds of miles of walking and biking trails, but this proposed river-to-river route would run 465-miles through the state’s midsection, from Davenport to Council Bluffs.

The cross-country trail has the potential to bring visitors, businesses, jobs and spending to communities along its 37-hundred-mile route, he says, though it may be many years before it’s finished.

In recent weeks, a new pedestrian and cycling trail opened on the Interstate 74 bridge connecting Bettendorf, Iowa and Moline, Illinois. It includes an observation deck and a giant glass “oculus” window at the bridge’s midpoint over the Mississippi River. That new addition would provide Great American Rail-Trail users another option for crossing the waterway.

Here’s a full list of the Iowa trails that would be incorporated into the effort:
• Government/Arsenal Bridge
• Mississippi River Trail/Riverfront Trail
• Running River Trail System
• Kent Stein to Deep Lakes Park Trail
• Hoover Nature Trail
• Cedar Valley Nature Trail
• Gilbert Drive Trail
• Evansdale Nature Trail
• River Forest Road Trail/Cedar River Levee Trail
• Cedar Valley Lakes Trail
• South Riverside Trail
• Cedar Prairie Trail
• Sergeant Road Trail
• Pioneer Trail
• Iowa River Trail
• Linn Creek Recreational Trail
• Iowa 330/US 30 Trail
• Heart of Iowa Nature Trail
• High Trestle Trail
• Raccoon River Valley Trail
• T-Bone Trail
• Railroad Highway Trail
• Valley View Trail
• Lake Manawa Trail
• Veterans Memorial Trail
• Western Historic Trails Center Link
• Iowa Riverfront Trail
• Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge