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18th National Trails Symposium Quad Cities October 19-22, 2006

Quad Cities area features great trails!
See more about trails in the area
Cedar Falls, the Gateway to the Trails
Cedar River overlook
Hitchcock Nature Center
Grand Illinois Trail And Parks tour
Ride the River
Skybridge on Quad Cities riverfront

Map with quad cities straddling the two states

The Quad Cities and surrounding areas of Iowa and Illinois are endowed with a great variety of landscapes, from the cities and wetlands along the Mississippi River to wild hills and forests.

The National Trails Symposium, to be held October 19-22, 2006, will be the occasion to learn about many fascinating projects. We'll be featuring outstanding examples of these trails and greenways on our website, so visit often for more about the National Trails Symposium. Also, read about the vision of trails and greenways for the area.

Ride the River promotes trails in the Quad Cities

photo of bicyclists on trail event
The Ride the River event along the Mississippi

Thousands of bike riders got out to ride for Ride the River, an annual Father's Day tradition in the Quad Cities. This year was the event's 21st anniversary.

Riders view the Mississippi River from both Quad Cities shorelines on the Illinois and Iowa sides from the seats of their bicycles during this festive event that the entire family enjoys. Choose from the basic loop of 18 miles or ride as many as 60+ miles on the Great River Trail. The route keeps riders close to the Mississippi River for an appreciation of the community's greatest natural resource.

One highlight of Ride the River is to enjoy a trip across the river on the Celebration Belle riverboat as your bike follows on a barge. Another option is to cross the Arsenal Bridge from Davenport, Iowa, into Rock Island, Illinois. There's entertainment, food and activities along the way. Younger kids can also get involved at the "Kids Ride the River Too" area with special activities for younger riders.

Proceeds from Ride the River help support riverfront trail development and amenities in the Quad Cities. To date, the event has raised over $100,000 for trail development in the Quad Cities, the Channel Cat Water Taxi, trail construction, and the American Discovery Trail link on the Arsenal Bridge and Arsenal Island.

For more information call (563) 322-2969 or visit their website at

Skybridge rises above Quad Cities riverfront

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Skybridge on Davenport, Iowa's riverfront

Another great feature of the Quad Cities is the new skybridge in Davenport, Iowa. Like the the arch in St. Louis and the Sundial Bridge in Redding, California, the River Music Skybridge draws visitors and attention to the riverfront. As one of the world's most visited tourist attractions, the mighty Mississippi is a remarkable sight.

To take advantage of all the history and magic associated with the river, the project includes a unique cable-stayed pedestrian skybridge soaring 50 feet in the air over River Drive, safely connecting people visiting the riverfront to the downtown.

The Skybridge provides a clear, uninterrupted view of the river for more than 500 feet and eliminate the need for pedestrian traffic across the heavily-used highway that separates the downtown and riverfront. Glass elevators, as well as a stairway, take visitors up to the bridge level.

The Skybridge cost about $7 million dollars, with $3.5 million coming from a Vision Iowa grant, $2 million from Rhythm City Casino, $1.3 million from the Riverboat Development Authority, and $500,000 from the City of Davenport.

Iowa AmeriCorps Trails Team restores Cedar River overlook

The new overlook after AmeriCorps work
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The project area before restoration









See the "before and after" photos below to appreciate the difference made by this restoration project. The theme is "Sky Over Rock Over Water." The Iowa Department of Natural Resources AmeriCorps Trails Team developed this unique overlook on the Cedar River last year.

The 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps trail system along the cliff area has witnessed a number of accidents and several fatalities of late. Cedar logs removed during a local prairie restoration project were used as railings, while native limestone was used for the overlook entry area.

Grand Illinois Trail And Parks

Sunday, June 11 through Saturday, June 17, 2006 is the Grand Illinois Trail And Parks ride. Sponsored by the League of Illinois Bicyclists in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Enjoy a unique weeklong bike ride featuring segments of the Grand Illinois Trail combined with overnights at three outstanding state parks and one college. The ride begins and ends at Rochelle in north-central Illinois, then makes an extended circular tour through western Illinois, including four riding days along the Mississippi River. The route is generally flat, with mileage choices ranging from 315 to 555 miles for the week. Dinners, breakfasts, camping sites, sags, bike repair, T-shirts, door prizes, and evening programs. Limited to 160 riders. $330. For information:;; or call Chuck Oestreich at 309-788-1845.

logo: the emerging role of trails in American lifestyles
Badger Ridge at Hitchcock Nature Center

Hitchcock Nature Center

Located in the heart of the globally significant Loess Hills near Honey Creek, IA, Hitchcock Nature Center harbors some of the largest remaining prairie remnants in Iowa and provides refuge for plants and animals found nowhere else in the state. Hitchcock's 1,003 acres are open every day of the year for hiking, camping, picnicking, bird watching, snow sledding, star gazing or simply enjoying nature. Come visit Hitchcock Nature Center and explore over 10 miles of hiking trails including an equal access boardwalk that stretches a quarter mile into the Loess Hills woodlands. For more information about Hitchcock Nature Center, please call 712-545-3283 or visit our website at

Also visit Cedar Falls, the Gateway to the Trails


Where to find it:


Won by Joe Walker, from Denton, Texas:




Updated November 19, 2006

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