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Portion of Flint River Trail Opens

10 miles of the Flint River Trail in rural Des Moines County is officially open for hiking, biking and walking. More than 30 people turned out for a ribbon cutting, Wednesday morning, for the section that runs from Big Hollow Recreation Area to Flint Bottom Road.

Des Moines County Conservation Director Chris Lee says the trail improves the local quality of life.

"There are a lot of folks who like to go out and do the softer side of nature," says Lee, "and just go out and see things.  Then there is another group, and I would guess it is even more, who want to have active participation in something.  This is one of those."

The trail will eventually stretch 20 miles from Big Hollow to downtown Burlington.  It has been in the works for years.

The county still needs to build an off-road path around Starr's Cave Nature Center from Highway 61 to Mill Dam Road.

Regional Planner Justin Bushong says engineering work is underway for a portion of that, with work possible in 2014 or 2015.

He says the city must also complete a portion of the trail, north of the Port of Burlington, that would connect the downtown district to Mill Dam Road.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.