More than 20 volunteers turned out on a beautiful autumn Saturday (September 23, 2006) to complete work on a new portage trail around the Boone Waterworks Dam. That low-head dam claimed the life of Megan Pavelik after she went over the dam on an inner tube in July, became entrapped in the dam's hydraulic and drowned. The trail, which is more than 600 feet long and includes a new foot bridge, will allow river users such as canoeists, kayakers and tubing enthusiasts to safety by-pass the dam.
Boone Waterworks used their heavy equipment to establish the initial path and grade of the trail. The volunteers provided labor to install the foot bridge deck and hand rail, to finish hand shoveling along the grade, and to spread crushed rock and woodchips along the trail. Preliminary technical and additional equipment assistance was provided by personnel from the Iowa DNR and United States Parks Service.
Boone Waterworks provided lumber for the railing on the bridge, as well as crushed rock and woodchips for the trail. They installed security lighting and placed huge glacial stones around the parking lot at the boat ramp. Boone Waterworks also purchased extra signage, more than what IWC initially thought was necessary. And most importantly, they supported this project from the very beginning, helping to organize and see it through to the point that it is now.
Pizza was donated by Hank Kohler, owner of Happy Joe's in Ames. Volunteers chowed down seven pizzas and guzzled eight two-liter bottles of soda. He even paid an employee to deliver the pizzas to the rural construction site.
Folks at Iowa State University have committed to maintain the trail now that it has been completed.
IWC thanks everyone who volunteered and helped to make this project a huge success. We will continue to work with local and state leaders to explore opportunities for physical modifications at the dam that would lead to hazard reduction.
If we have this much cooperation, dedication, and motivation at the sites where other portage trails and signage are needed, we will be well on our way to making Iowa's rivers indeed a safer place to enjoy our environment!