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Flint River Trail: Archeological Study

The exact route for a 20-mile hiking/biking trail being built through Des Moines County is still being determined.

Flint River Trail will eventually stretch from Big Hollow Recreation Area in the northern half of the county to downtown Burlington.

An archeological study is underway on a roughly 2.5 mile stretch of the trail from Highway 61 to Irish Ridge Road, via Starr's Cave Park & Preserve.

Zach James with the Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission says the study is being done by a firm out of Anamosa, Iowa. That's a condition of the more than $400,000 federal grant the county received to help pay for this phase of the project.

He says the study will determine whether the proposed route through the park will work.  He says there are concerns changes could be needed.

"(I) think there is some potential for that just based on some previous sites that have been found in the area and the location near Flint Creek," said James.  "So there is some potential for that, but I guess that is part of the reason why we do the study."

James says the study should be completed within six to eight weeks. He says the results of the study, which require state review and approval, will be used for the final design and engineering work.

James says construction could get underway on this phase of the trail in Spring 2015. He says once completed, just five miles of the trail would need to be finished, from Irish Ridge Road to Burlington's northern city limits.

Roughly 13 miles of Flint River Trail is open to the public.

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