PERRY, Iowa, Sept. 21, 2017 -- One of the best, most thorough stories we can recall about the Raccoon River Valley Trail in a national publication is now circulating on the website and in the fall edition magazine of the Rails To Trails Conservancy.
Written by travel writer and bicyclist Betsy Rubiner, the story begins this way: "For Des Moines city dwellers, the 89-mile Raccoon River Valley Trail has long offered much-appreciated, easy access to Iowa's rural heart. The trail's many paved miles -- including a 72-mile loop -- follow former railroad corridors through rural scenes that early-20th-century, Iowa-born artist Grant Wood (of 'American Gothic' fame) could have painted: kids playing in a quiet small-town park, livestock grazing in a pasture, a whirring combine cutting through acres of soybeans, seemingly endless fields of young corn."
The feature is the cover story of the publication and covers six inside pages, with beautiful photographs from Rubiner herself and from photographer Rachel Mummey, and an excellent RRVT map designed by Danielle Marks.
You can read the full story by clicking here.
Rubiner, who is based in Des Moines, authors a blog "TakeBetsywithyou" on her travels, locally and internationally. You can follow her on that by clicking here.
Rails To Trails Conservancy is a 31-year-old non-profit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., with regional offices in California, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. It works at helping communities and regions to convert abandoned railroad rights-of-way into recreational trails.
The story has drawn raves from RRVT advocates who've seen it.
Chuck Offenburger, of Cooper, who does much of the writing on this website and has long been a spokesperson for the RRVT, called it "the best national story on our trail that I can remember. That was no surprise to me because Betsy Rubiner and I were starting our journalism careers in Des Moines about the same time, and I've always had real respect for her reporting and writing."
"Great exposure!" said Jim Miller, of rural Waukee, who has helped lead the effort to develop, fund and build the "Waukee Railroad Pergola -- in the shadow of the rails" -- the $1.1 million public art installation going up now at the RRVT's gateway trailhead on the west edge of Waukee.
David Dahlquist, the Des Moines artist and lead designer on the "Pergola" project, called it "a wonderful article." He added, "Yes, the Raccoon River Valley Trail is ready to take the next step; in use, in popularity and recognition."
The RRVT on the cover of the Rails To Trails Conservancy magazine, fall 2017 edition.