Trail connecting McGregor and Marquette is proposed

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

McGregor resident Dan Keyes went before both the Marquette and McGregor councils last week about forming a trail between the two communities, using Marquette’s planned emergency evacuation route. Beginning at the bench in Marquette and cutting through the Ohmer property over the bluff, the route ends near Eagle Drive, in McGregor.

Keyes said it would be a wilderness trail, used largely for hiking and possibly biking.

Since Marquette is now working to develop the route, Keyes said he felt it was a good time to propose the idea of connecting the communities, which has been suggested before but never come to fruition. 

“I feel it would save energy if it was done at the same time,” he said. 

Keyes said a trail would create numerous benefits for the communities.

“A lot of people enjoy trails and seek them out,” he said. “They’re a benefit to the area, to people who live here and to tourists.”

Marquette city manager Dean Hilgerson said the plan was a great idea and noted the city’s interest in developing trails. He also added that an exact evacuation route is still being formed.

Mayor Norma Mason also supported the idea, suggesting it might be helpful to form a trail committee once the new mayor and city council take office in January. 

McGregor, too, felt developing a trail would be good, although most of the proposed trail would run through Marquette property. However, by using city streets, hikers or bikers could eventually reach downtown McGregor from Eagle Drive.

Someday, said Keyes, it would be nice to be able to access downtown without using streets, possibly through the McGregor Heights or state land.

That could be tricky, though, mentioned Rylan Retallick, with the DNR.

“You have to keep in mind, there are cultural resources by the Heights,” he said, referring to burial mounds. 

If buffer zones can be created around the mounds for a foot trail, something might be possible, he added, noting that seeing collaboration between the cities would also make it more favorable to the state.

“It’s a great idea to connect people to the outdoors and the cities,” Retallick said. “I’d be willing to meet and work with you.”

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