Ames plans nature trail link between existing parks

Shannon Hill

A grant of $150,000 recently was awarded to the city of Ames to build a link between already existing trails in Brookside Park and Stuart Smith Park.

The grant was awarded to the city through Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP), which is a division of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Nancy Carroll, director of Ames Parks and Recreation, said the mile-long trail, which includes a bridge, will be constructed on the property now known as the Elwood Pasture.

“The plan has been in existence since 1995 or ’96,” she said.

Carroll said the complete trail will link with commuter paths to create a north/south trail network through Ames that extends more than three miles.

She said the site for the new link is bordered on the north by Sixth Street, the west by Elwood Drive, the south by Lincoln Way and the east by Squaw Creek.

The land that will be used for the new link of trails is owned by Iowa State and is used now as an outdoor teaching lab, Carroll said.

Jim Pease, chairman of the outdoor teaching lab, said unifying the trail system will make the outdoor teaching labs much more accessible for lab projects and student projects.

“It is a really good cooperative relationship between the university and the city,” he said.

Pease said the city is planning to construct the link as well as the bridge next summer.