WHY OUTDOOR RECREATION?
recreating in iowa
Iowa is at the top of several impressive lists that highlight how lucky we are to live, work, and play here. However, when comparative to other states, Iowa is ranked nearly last in public lands and other green spaces that are a key driver for businesses and families when choosing where to plant roots.
Strategic investments in our land and water resources will help strengthen rural communities, support workforce attraction, enhance quality of life, and improve water quality.
water trails vision
The vision for Iowa Water Trails Fund is to reactive statewide water resources creating thriving communities, economies and outdoor experiences for all Iowans, now and in the future.
FOUNDED AT THE CONFLUENCE OF TWO RIVERS, OUR REGION’S BEGINNING IS ROOTED IN WATER.
Enhance Funding for Outdoor Recreation and Conservation
- In 2010, Iowans overwhelming voted in favor of Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy Trust Fund (IWILL), which supports investments in recreation, clean water, and conservation.
- Nearly 60 percent of the funding will go towards practices that will directly benefit our state’s water resources.
- IWILL will provide approximately $180 million in new funding each year to support these goals.
- This funding will directly benefit rural Iowa and revitalization of our small towns.
Support Thriving Communities
- Almost every Iowa community is within a mile of a river or stream.
- The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) recognizes the important role recreation has in supporting a vibrant rural economy.
- Outdoor recreation can serve as a catalyst to revitalize rural communities. GOF and its partners are working with IEDA to develop a funding strategy that leverages resources to support recreation and our small towns.
Collaborate with Rural Landowners and Stakeholders
- Improving our state’s water quality will take urban and rural stakeholders working together.
- Through Central Iowa Water Trails, we are working with Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) and other agricultural organizations to strategically align resources along priority recreational waterways.
- This effort has the potential to have a significant impact on water quality in two of the state’s largest watersheds, the Des Moines and Raccoon.
- This partnership is leveraging state investments to secure additional funding through programs like NRCS’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).
As ICON Water Trails has evolved, the opportunity to foster partnerships, (businesses, jurisdictions, non-profits) collaborate and build on successful efforts has become evident. Iowa Water Trails will bring these projects together for the purposes of sharing resources, building on the success of past efforts and developing cohesive upstream/downstream partnerships for improving water quality and environmental conservation. This fund provides a statewide opportunity to have recreation and conservations efforts go hand in hand and provides a state where outdoor recreation, on water, is sought after nationwide.
As a state, Iowa continues to strive for greatness when it comes to establishing a unique sense of place. A place to work, grow and play. This initiative will help attract and retain top talent as well as draw in visitors who help drive economic development. We have seen the great success of our on-land trails and now it’s time for us to dive into our water.