The Cedar Valley Nature Trail is an amazing recreational trail here in eastern Iowa. Travelling from just north of Cedar Rapids in Hiawatha over 50 miles north to Waterloo it is justifiably a gem for those of us addicted to two wheeled recreation.
Notice I said travelling north. To the south things are decidedly less amazing. Paved trails exist throughout Cedar Rapids and extend as far south as the small town of Ely. In Ely things peter out as you approach the Linn County-Johnson County line. I say peter out when what I really mean to say is end abruptly. As in the trail literally comes to an end at dirt with nothing more.
Plans have been in the discussion and preparation stages for what seems like a decade. Now, this spring—despite the horrible weather—construction has finally begun!
It will take two years or more to complete. Bet on the “or more” as delays are almost inevitable with projects like this and Johnson County is notorious for meddlesome parties to become involved in delaying projects for spurious reasons. Nonetheless, the future is bright as this section of trail south of Ely into Solon will connect the trail systems of Cedar Rapids and Iowa City for the first time in forever.
You can take a look at the trail map of the Iowa City-Coralville-North Liberty area and imagine a purple line extending from the intersection of Highway 382 and Ely Road NE into the town of Ely. Now merge that with the trail map of the Cedar Rapids-Hiawatha-Marion area to get an idea of what a combined system will look like.
It is my hope that this combination becomes a catalyst to complete the connections to orphaned sections of trails throughout the area.
Now, if spring would actually get here we could really get to riding. How bad is it? It’s April 19th and there was measurable snow on the ground this morning. Seriously, what is this? Minnesota?