From Native American tribes to the pre-civil war establishment of Fort Des Moines, generation after generation settled in Central Iowa because of its rivers.
Over the last few decades, we have lost this connection. As we look to remain competitive with other regions for workforce, and to provide a first-class quality of life for our citizens, reconnecting to our river roots is crucial. Activating the 150 miles of rivers and creeks in Central Iowa represents the greatest untapped potentials of our community.
The future is bright for Central Iowa. As a region we are growing in population and vision. As we approach the million-citizen population mark, the work we do together will define our region for the next 100 years. We have a rare opportunity and responsibility to define and build that vision.
We have a long history of citizens coming together to do big things. Creating a regional network of water trails and greenways will be our generation’s contribution to the long history of citizens stepping up and taking our community to the next level. Through this project, we will reconnect to our river roots.
With over 150 miles of water trails and more than 85 amenities, the reach of this project is vast. The Great Outdoors Foundation understands the impact this project will have not only on our region, but on the state and nation. Fundraising on behalf of this project encompasses our strategic mission and values.
“THIS PROJECT IS THE MOST TRANSFORMATIONAL QUALITY-OF-LIFE PROJECT OF OUR GENERATION IN CENTRAL IOWA.”
“IT’S TIME TO LOOK AT OUR WATER IN A NEW WAY. IT’S TIME TO DREAM BIG WITH ALL HANDS ON DECK.”
IOWA OUTDOOR RECREATION GENERATES…
$8.7 BILLION IN ANNUAL CONSUMER SPENDING
83,000 DIRECT JOBS
$2.7 BILLION IN WAGES & SALARIES
$649 MILLION IN STATE AND LOCAL TAX REVENUE
Water trails are recreational corridors and routes on rivers and lakes that provide a unique experience for all water users. They provide easier access into water and amenities like riverside camping, wild spaces, picnic areas, restrooms, and watercraft rentals provided by local, state, and federal partners. Coordinated signage and mapping systems guide users toward the types of experiences they seek, ranging from a highly social first-time river experience lasting a few hours to multi-day adventures. Water trails help boost local economies and give central Iowans outdoor experiences just outside their back doors.
The Greater Des Moines Water Trails and Greenways Master Plan was adopted by unanimous vote of the MPO Policy Committee in November 2016. The water trails plan provides the region a road-map for enhancing citizen experiences in and along the 150 miles of waterways in Greater Des Moines.
The MPO received funding from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to develop a regional water trails plan. Now developed, the plan provides the region a road-map for enhancing citizen experiences in and along the waterways in Greater Des Moines.
Visit the the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) water trails web page here.