Plantings to enhance trails
The Cherokee County Conservation Department, along with Cherokee Parks Department, will soon be doing a native prairie planting on the original site of The Fountain House and Magnetic Park area grounds in northeast Cherokee.
This site will be developed into an outdoor type classroom, along with paved trails and natural trails as part of the growing Cherokee Trails System that now encompasses Spring Lake Park, Wescott Park in the southern sector of Cherokee, and winds northeast through town through Central Park towards the Iowa Highway 3 by-pass while utilizing the abandoned railroad line.
Fund raising for the total project has started and if you would like to learn more please call City Hall at 712-225-5749 for contact information. The Trails Committee also hosts an informational meeting tonight at the Yacht Club in Spring Lake Park.
The City at its May 8 Council meeting approved a “Prairie Partners Program” agreement for the area
after ongoing discussions led to the matter formally reviewed at the May 7 Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting.
The agreement required City Council approval, and the Trails Committee is committed to funding the $2,217.50 match, which is 50% of the overall cost of the $4,435 seed mix.
Parks and Recreation Advisory Board Chairman and Cherokee Trails Committee Chair Jason Cook said Ross Baxter from Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF) has authorized the seeding to take place. Volunteers will assist with the seeding.
Matt McClanahan from Conservation Districts of Iowa and Amy Crouch from the Nature Conservancy were also present at the May 7 Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting.
According to City Hall, this matter initially came up because the Board also discussed the type of seed mix that will be used for the flood plain area between Maple and Main Streets, east of South Roosevelt Avenue, which is another area designated for native grasses per the approval of City Council Resolution on March 13.
McClanahan brought the Prairie Partners Program Agreement for the Magnetic Park Area to the May 7 meeting, which led to this addition to the May 8 City Council agenda. Approval of this agreement now will allow for the seeding to occur in June to help prepare this area to be added to the City’s trail system.
The purpose of the agreement is to provide technical and financial assistance to landowners who agree to establish wildlife habitat on their land. The process will be monitored by the DNR and must include native prairie species, specified planting procedures, weed control, interseeding of legumes to increase plant community species and structural diversity, and recommended time tables for the seeding.
The area includes approximately 15 acres and estimated seed cost is $4,435, with the Cherokee Trails Committee pledging to raise funds covering half that total.