Work will begin on Bloody Run County Park’s first trail at the end of July

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Work will be performed July 25 through Aug. 1 to establish Bloody Run County Park’s first trail. The primitive trail, which will be at least one mile long, will begin by the campground area at the park’s entrance. It will head to an overlook (shown here) and connect to the back portion of the park, which is currently undeveloped. (Submitted photo)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Trail enthusiasts will have another local option at the start of August, when construction is completed on Bloody Run County Park’s first trail.

A crew from the Iowa and Minnesota Conservation Corps will begin work in the park located outside Marquette on July 25 and finish up Aug. 1, said Clayton County Conservation naturalist Kenny Slocum.

It will be a primitive trail, he said, beginning by the campground area at the park’s entrance. The trail will head to an overlook and connect to the back portion of the park, which is currently undeveloped.

Once it’s completed, Slocum said the trail, which will be at least one mile long, will assure that most of Bloody Run’s 133 acres is utilized in some way.

“It’s pretty rugged terrain,” Slocum said of the area the trail will pass through. “There’s not a lot of dirt.”

The trail crew’s main job, he mentioned, will be to establish tread and remove some trees.

“They’ll lay out the path,” Slocum stated, “but we’ll rely on people to come and use the trail to establish it fully. That’s the best way to beat it down.”

The trail will be challenging, as it will take people straight up a hillside, he said. However, it will be more of a gradual incline than, for example, the trail at Effigy Mounds, he added.

The view will be worth the effort.

“People will be surprised when they get to the overlook, how beautiful it is,” Slocum said, noting that, without roads and buildings marring the landscape, only the sound of nearby traffic will remind one they haven’t gone back in time to ancient Iowa. “It’s a prime location.”

Incorporating a trail into Bloody Run County Park, which Slocum said is one of the county’s most visited parks, has been on Clayton County Conservation’s five-year plan since 2002. Trails align with their mission to both protect natural resources and enhance recreational opportunities. 

“It will be one more reason to visit the park,” he said. “It opens the park up to day use visitors as opposed to just campers and fishermen.”

Funding for the Bloody Run trail project comes from a Wellmark Foundation Community Kickstarter grant worth $10,000. The winner was decided upon online, by popular vote. The project competed against 128 others to earn the grant.

“This is a special project because not only was the grant won thanks to the votes of Clayton County citizens, but the grant pays for almost the entirety of the construction— $10,000 of the $10,080 price tag,” Slocum said. “I think it’s pretty special the community has made this investment by public support, at almost no cost to the county and taxpayers themselves.”

Slocum said he hopes the Bloody Run trail will encourage others to establish trails, further promoting healthy living and recreational opportunities in the area.

“If it’s there, people will use it,” he said. “It’s another way to let people enjoy what’s in their own backyard and also draw people to the area.”

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