Return to Current News


News 2009 to 2001-Jefferson County Trails Council

Dec 10, 2009...B Street sidewalk
The sidewalk along B Street is being extended north from the Waterworks Park Entrance. See photos here.

Nov 15, 2009...Gazebo on Pleasant Lake
Repair work being done on old cedar shingles and flashing by Duncan MacMaster, Brian Robbins, and Livia Papp.  The Gazebo is located at southwest corner of parking lot at Pleasant Lake (Reservoir #2).  It formerly was located on a pond at the then-MIU campus.  The university donated it to the Lakes/Beach committee and Trails Council, who arranged to have it moved and repaired.   Photos here.

Nov 13, 2009...Whitham Woods construction
Another Loop Trail section is under construction.  Click here for photos.

Nov 08, 2009...Matkin Bridge trail completed
The trail connections to the bridge are open (no mud).  Click here for photos.

Oct 25, 2009...Matkin Bridge Inauguration
Click here to see a photo essay of the inauguration.

Sept 04, 2009...Bridge construction started
Construction of the piers for the Matkin Memorial Bridge over Hwy 1 North has begun. UPDATE 10/18/09: The bridge is in place and the approaches are built. See photos here.

Aug 22, 2009...DOT-South segment inauguration
The DOT-South segment of the Loop Trail was inaugurated on Aug 22, 2009. Speakers emphasized the theme of Health & Wellness for the community. See full story on the DOT-South page.

May 28, 2009...DOT-South segment Update
The opening of the DOT-South segment has been delayed. See the full story on the DOT-South page.

October 25, 2008...Neff Wetlands Dike & Trail repaired
The flood in Spring 2008 damaged the Neff Wetlands dike and trail. More flooding came in September. Permanent repairs were made in October. Photos here.

October 23, 2008...B Street Walkway/Bikeway completed
A 10-foot wide concrete sidewalk/bikeway was completed along B Street. It connects Stone Ave and Waterworks Park. Photos here.

Sept 15, 2008...Highway 163/63/34 Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
The date has been changed to Nov 12, 2008. Join representatives from throughout the area and state to celebrate and commemorate the completion of the Highway 163/63/34 corridor connecting Des Moines to Burlington. The 5.7-mile trail along the bypass in Fairfield is included in this project.

September 06, 2008...Neff Wetlands floods
Heavy rain in early September 2008 caused Crow Creek to overflow into the Neff Wetlands, overflowing the dike and covering the trail. See some photos here.

April 07, 2008...Bikeway/Walkway Signs Appearing Around Town
The Jefferson County Trails Council has begun putting up signs around town for a city-wide Bikeway/Walkway system.
All the signs will be up by the end of May. In the meantime, cyclists wishing to follow them may miss a turn and get lost! Maps and other information about the plan can be found here.

Nathaniel AlexanderApril 06, 2008...Nathaniel Alexander completes his Eagle Scout work by fashioning 4 new benches for the Loop Trail. The benches are made from locally harvested and milled osage orange trees.

A member of Troop #108, Nathaniel was helped by Josh Adams, Doug Adams, and Ace Boothby.

See more photos, here.



Oct 3, 2007...New Pedestrian Bridge Named In Honor Of Matkin
   The recreational trails surrounding Fairfield will now include a pedestrian bridge immediately north of the Maharishi University of Management campus that will connect trail segments on either side of Highway 1. The Jefferson County Trail System has secured $125,000 in federal funding to pay for a bowstring truss bridge.

   Ron Blair, of the trails council, says he hopes that bid letting by the Department of Transportation will happen as early as the first quarter of next year, and that installation will be in the summer or fall. The Jefferson Country Trail System will be raising an additional $50,000 to build wooden approaches to the bridge and to modify the trail so that it's slightly farther south.

   The bridge will be named the William Charles Matkin Memorial Bridge, in honor of the late Bill Matkin.

Sept 5, 2007...Another short photo series... of textures in plants. All were taken on recent walks on the highway bypass construction sites.
Hope you enjoy them. © 2007, Paul Siemsen.

RR Crossing sign in Jefferson County ParkAug 19, 2007...A Rock Island Railroad Crossing Signal is now back along the railroad right-of-way, but on the "old" alignment instead of the "new" alignment of the Rock Island.

Confused? See Ron Meyers' report.

Aug 10, 2007...Questions have arisen regarding the weed-control procedures currently being tried on the Loop Trail. Ron Blair prepared a reply - click here.


Patricia Innis and volunteers started work on a large-scale earthworkJuly 23, 2007...On July 2nd, environmental artist Patricia Innis and volunteers started work on a large-scale earthwork on the Jefferson County Loop Trail near Chautauqua Park.

The sculpture, made of topsoil and to be planted with yellow prairie flowers, will provide a habitat for birds, and in the fall, seeds for them to eat. It is Innis' hope that the sculpture will nurture the viewer while nourishing the birds.

See the full story, and photos, here.


CVT Bridge over Hwy 34July 15, 2007...The new bridge over the (under-construction) Highway 34 bypass is now open on Cedar View Trail.

Approaches to the bridge were paved with stones that were designed to give the impression of railroad tracks, since this trail is on an abandoned (1980) Rock island track. A grant from the National Endowment of the Arts assisted us in enhancing the bridge.

The Iowa DOT helped by building decorative fence posts for an Art Deco look.  See CVT Trail photos, including the new bridge.


Cecropia moth, the largest moth species in North AmericaJun 13, 2007...Brian Stains writes: "I found a very cooperative and photogenic cecropia moth, the largest moth species in North America, this morning at dawn resting on the grass adjacent to the Fairfield Loop Trail, Route 34 underpass at Crow Creek."

"It's amazingly woolly!" See two larger photos.


Fry Trail, going under Business Hwy 34Mar 02, 2007...Our most recent project is the new Crow Creek segment, which connects Chautauqua Park with Lamson Woods, giving us a continuous 6.1-mile stretch of the Loop Trail.

It has been slow going for a variety of reasons, but now it only needs additional surfacing to be complete.  Watch for our Grand Opening.    Read the history and see more photos.

December, 2006...Construction of the new Cedar View Trail bridge over the new Hwy 34 bypass is proceeding, but may not be complete until Spring.
More details here. Click here for a PDF file with photos.

September, 2006...Stylized "tree-forms" of Cor-Ten steel were added to the CVT Bridge over Crow Creek to soften its industrial appearance. Details here.
Also, see Judy Bales' website page.

August 09, 2006...Construction began on the Cedar View Trail, to allow grading of the new four-lane bypass, and the construction of a trail bridge over the bypass. More details here.

June 08, 2006...The Iowa Department of Transportation announced today that the Cedar View Trail will be closed starting Wednesday, June 14, 2006. This closure will allow for grading of the new four-lane bypass, and the construction of a trail bridge over the bypass. The CVT is projected to be opened again by the end of the year. More details here.

May 22, 2006...Come out and celebrate National Trails Day on Saturday, June 3. Work on our trails, cut the ribbon on a new dock. Ride the new electric "Trail Buggy." Visit the Bonnifield Log House on the Heritage Trail. More details here.

May 8, 2006...The Bikeway/Walkway Plan was presented to the City today. It was well received. Details here.

May 7, 2006...Josh Adams, of Boy Scout Troop #108, received his Eagle Scout Award. His project was building 3 map and literature kiosks for the JCTC.
Photos here.

May 7, 2006...A dock was installed in Reservoir #1 at Waterworks Park, now that the reservoir has been transformed into a water recreation area (for swimming). Photos here.

Apr 02, 2006...This website is a winner in the 2005 American Trails Website Contest. Check out the other winners and the all the nominated sites at the American Trails website.

Mar 11, 2006...A public meeting was held today to present the Bikeway/Walkway Plan to the public. It will be presented to the City on May 8.

Jan 30, 2006...University of Iowa Graduate Students in Urban Planning are preparing the City of Fairfield Bikeway/Walkway Plan: Safe and Healthy Transportation Alternatives for a Stronger Community.

CVT  Bridge, photo by Ron Meyers Oct 9, 2005...The Jefferson County Conservation Board and the Jefferson County Trails Council hosted the first Trail Drive-Through for Vehicles.
The Cedar View Trail saw 74 vehicles drive on the 1.4-mile trail, which includes the 387-foot bridge over Cedar Creek. BNSF Bridge, photo by Judy Bales

The Louden Bridge Trail saw 55 cars & trucks, 2 motorcycles and 1 Dodge Power Wagon drive on the 1-mile section, including the artistically-enhanced Louden Bridge. See details on Ron Meyers' Trail Talk webpage.

Aug 26, 2005...A story about our Louden Bridge has appeared on the American Trails website. Click here for the link.

June 2, 2005...Thanks to Dave Neff, there is a beautiful new walking trail (sorry, no bikes allowed) which you can access at Glasgow Rd or in Lamson Woods. The trail winds above the wetlands, through some pretty scenery and then enters Lamson Woods at its northeast corner.

May30, 2005...A special thanks to Dr Larry Nash for spending a very physical half-day helping us clear the Walking Trails on the east and west side of Reservoir #2.

May 27, 2005...Every trail segment (and kiosk) has been "adopted" in the Adopt-A-Trail Program. We are very appreciative of those who've stepped forward to help. Thanks to Bob Rutt for coordinating this effort.

Stumps made into a rest areaMay 13, 2005...Two students met their Fairfield High School community service hours requirement by turning oak tree-stumps into a rest area. Situated along the trail east of Chautauqua Park, the stumps came from diseased oak trees that were cut down in the park by Pam Craff, the Fairfield Park Superintendent. Thanks to Bryan Chonowski, Justin Brown, and friends. Enlarge the photo.

Jan 22, 2005...The Osby family and the Fry family have given us easements to allow us to extend the Loop Trail. The new segment will connect the Huggins Family Bridge in Chautauqua Park with the Neff Family Wetlands. Three small bridges will need to be constructed.

Oct 9, 2004...Using the new Louden Bridge Trail, Fairfield's first Town and Trail Run (10K and 5K) was a great success. The Physical Therapy Department of Jefferson County Hospital, a co-sponsor of the Run, reminds you to keep moving. See map.

Oct 2, 2004...The Grand Opening of the long-awaited one-mile link in the Fairfield Loop Trail between the Lakes segment and Chautauqua Park took place under sunny skies today. Approximately 45 people participated in a ribbon cutting on the 246-foot Louden Bridge. Also, the Chautauqua Park Bridge was dedicated as the Huggins Family Bridge. Grand Opening photos.

New kiosk being installedSept 30, 2004... A new kiosk being installed at the entrance to the new Louden Bridge segment in Chautauqua Park.

The kiosk was built by Josh Adams for his Eagle Scout project. Josh belongs to Boy Scout Troop 108.

See kiosk photo.

Sept 23, 2004...The entire Louden Bridge segment now is rocked from Walton Road to Chautauqua Park. Some additional fencing still needs to be erected, so be careful.

Sept 19, 2004...Ron Blair, Chairman, announced the Grand Opening of the new Louden Bridge segment that crosses over the BNSF railroad. On Saturday, October 2, at 10:30 AM, short speeches and a ribbon cutting will formally open the Louden Bridge and the Chautauqua Park Bridge. Meet at the east end of Chautauqua Park for fun and refreshments. See an invitation in Acrobat Reader.

Sept 19, 2004...The last of the 171 tiles were installed today. Pete Fotis and Bob Saturley gave us invaluable help in setting the tiles. Additional caulking will be applied for weather protection.

Sept 16, 2004...Rock has been applied to the trail section that connects the Louden Bridge to Chautauqua Park. Next, the section from the Louden Bridge to Walton Road will be rocked. In the meantime, watch out for mud.

Judy Bales on the bridgeSept 9, 2004...Judith Bales, who designed the bridge covering, and an advisor, Bob Saturley, are mounting the first of 171 tiles on the Louden Bridge side-wall.

Mark Shafer's advanced art class at Fairfield High School designed and created the tiles. More photos.

Sept 5, 2004...Using the new Louden Bridge segment, Fairfield's Town and Trail Run on Saturday, October 9th, will follow the Loop trail to Pleasant Plain Road, where the 10K run will turn around. The 5K runners and walkers will turn around at the new BNSF Trail Bridge. See map, and see more details.

Held in conjunction with the 9th annual Fairfield Bike Fest, runners, walkers and bikers will finish at Howard Park. The Jefferson County Hospital PT Department is a co-sponsor, who encourages you to come out and exercise.

Sept 3, 2004...The chain-link mesh cover is now complete, and the "wings" at the end of the Louden Bridge are in place. The connecting trails are awaiting stone surfaces. Soon the 171 ceramic plaques will be mounted on the bridge side-wall.

Aug 1, 2004...Some of the chain-link mesh that covers the new Louden Bridge was manufactured incorrectly. That is why you see a missing section. New chain-link will arrive in 3-4 weeks.
Next month the 171 ceramic plaques will be mounted on the bridge side-wall.

July 26, 2004...Construction has started on the trail that will connect Walton Road with the new Louden Bridge. Next to be done is the trail from the bridge to Chautauqua Park.

Construction of north pierMay/June/July, 2004 -- Construction of the new bridge over the BNSF Railroad tracks takes place.

Click on Louden Bridge News for details.

Click on Louden Bridge Photos for a complete photo essay.


Trail bridgeMay 17, 2004...National Trails Day is celebrated on the first Saturday in June. This year it is June 5. Activities will take place at Jefferson County Park and Chautauqua Park.


May 10, 2004...In case you did not notice, parts of this website have been revised and updated. We hope you like it. Send us your comments.


Prairie BurnMar 22, 2004...We burned the prairie next to the trail that runs east from B Street. For its own good.

Click here to find out why prairies are burned.



Feb 17, 2004...Construction of the new bridge over the BNSF railroad tracks will begin soon. Godbersen-Smith Construction Co. submitted the winning bid. Click on Louden Bridge News for updates and Louden Bridge photos for photos.

Nov 17, 2003...One of our partners, the Jefferson County Conservation Board, now has a website, Take a look.

Wood bench July 31, 2003...New bench, built by craftsman Duncan MacMaster and his students, installed on small walking trail located on the west side of Reservoir #2. Take the trail to the far north and as it curves through the pine grove and to the east, you will find a short spur down to the water where the bench is located.

Woodworking class July 3, 2003...The Trail System will be getting new benches made from osage orange logs. Fine woodworking craftsman Duncan MacMaster is holding summer classes -- students are shown with one bench.


Chautauqua Park BridgeJune 29, 2003...On Saturday, June 29, JCTC volunteers completed assembly of the new Chautauqua Park Bridge. This bridge will connect to a new trail (as yet unbuilt) that will lead to the new bridge over the BNSF railroad tracks (perhaps next Spring), which will enable one to travel to the existing trail at Walton Lake.


Walking trail bridgeJune 12, 2003...Zach Crane, from Boy Scout Troop #64, has been completing his Eagle Scout project by improving the rustic walking trail along the western edge of Reservoir #2. Improvements include wooden stepping stones, two new bridges, and general trail maintenance.


Art Walk ExhibitionJune 6, 2003...The JCTC hosted, in collaboration with the 1st Friday ArtWalk, an exhibition entitled "Trail of Discovery: Four Seasons of Walking the Jefferson County Trail System," by photographer Kenneth Gordon West, Jr. of Fairfield. These landscape photographs drew over 1000 visitors and garnered rave reviews!


Apr 22, 2003...The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad has given approval for the preliminary engineering design plans for our bridge over their tracks, east of Chautauqua Park. Final design plans will now be created by Calhoun-Burns & Assocs. from Des Moines, the engineering company which designed the Cedar View bridge.

Mar 26, 2003...U S Cellular granted the JCTC an easement through their property next to Walton Lake. This will allow us to construct a trail from Walton Road, through the woods, to the new BNSF bridge. The bridge construction must await permits.

Mar 22, 2003...Springtime maintenance has started. Volunteers replaced posts at the Reservoir # 2 parking lot on Pleasant Plain Rd. Thanks to Dick Arnold for digging the holes -- it saved a lot of tough hand digging!

Spider!Oct 26, 2002...Watch yourself this Halloween! Or any time. This garden spider was photographed along the trail between Reservoir # 1 and Reservoir # 2. You never know what will be around the next corner!



Family of deerOct 17...A family out for a stroll on the Cedar View Trail. Sorry for the fuzzy picture - the photographer wasn't quiet enough to get closer.


Barry RossOct 05...Barry Ross autographing his print of the trail logo after the Dedication Ceremony at Lamson Woods. Prints and t-shirts are still available.



DedicationOct 5...The official opening of the Lamson Woods Segment of the Fairfield Loop trail took place on a warm and sunny day. A good turnout participated in the dedication of the Carl Zillman Memorial Bridge and the Neff Wetlands Trail, as well as the new gazebo.


GazeboSept 26, 2002... A gazebo was recently built on the Neff Wetlands dike. Volunteers constructed it from a donated kit. It is located at the east end of the Carl Zillman Bridge, near Lamson Woods.



Sept 19... October 5th is set for the Dedication ceremony for the Carl Zillman Bridge and Neff Wetlands Trail. It starts at 11 AM at Lamson Woods at the corner of E. Fillmore Ave and S. Park Street. Jefferson County Trail System posters and t-shirts will be available for purchase.


Zillman Memorial BridgeAug 23...The Zillman Bridge at Lamson Woods was recently completed by volunteers, and the surfacing of the Neff Family Wetlands dike was completed this week by the contractor. You may now walk or ride your bike the 1/2 mile from Mint Blvd to Glasgow Road. A Grand Opening Celebration date will be announced.

Aug 10...Prints of the trail scene created for us by Barry Ross are now available at Henderson's and Somebody Cares on the square in Fairfield, and at the Jefferson County Nature Center. Trail signs with this scene are being erected along the trails - starting with the Cedar View Trail.

Aug 3...The Grand Opening of the Cedar View Trail was held with a ribbon cutting and tour of the trail. About 70 people attended. According the Ron Meyers, the trail surface will get more attention -- the Jefferson County Conservation Board will finish surfacing the trail with limey chips as their budget allows.

July 18...The Cedar View Trail Grand Opening ceremony will be held on Saturday, Aug 3rd, from 10AM to noon. The ribbon cutting will take place at the trail entrance off 32nd Street (Suburban Heights Rd).

July 13...Construction began at the final section of the Zillman Bridge/Boardwalk at Lamson Woods this weekend. Volunteers extended it to the dike -- additional work needs to be done before it is complete.

June 20...The "Spring Time Party" drawing at Drugtown in Fairfield was held recently. David Cruz won a child's bike, choosing the girl's bike.

June 15...Contractors installed the fences on the Cedar View Trail Bridge. Now you can cross without fear of plunging 60 feet into the creek (!). The Grand Opening will be announced soon.

June 3...Cedar View Trail Update: The trail was surfaced with rock from Suburban Hts Rd to 223rd St. It has not been "rolled" yet, so is still pretty rough. As for the bridge, we are waiting for fencing to be installed this week or next.

May 31, 2002...The walking trail on the east side of Reservoir #2 was mowed by the Water Dept and is now fully open and easily managed. Try it!

May 25...Both the east and west walking trails at reservoir # 2 now have trail marking arrows. In pursuit of a Wood Carving Merit Badge, 18 Boy Scouts of MSAE Troop #108, with guidance from Doug Adams, director of the Fine Furniture Dept at MUM, carved and painted the arrows. While installing them, they moved some trees that had fallen onto the trail. Cedar View Bridge

May 14...Update on the Cedar View Trail Bridge: The concrete deck was poured today. It must cure for 72 hours, while water is pumped onto it. Fences must be erected and approach paths graded. Also, the contractor will try to reconstruct the banks, but it may be difficult with all the cinders underneath. We are getting close!

May 14...The "Spring Time Party" at Drugtown was extended. There is still time to enter the drawing!! Tell your friends with small children.

May 02...The "Spring Time Party" began today at Drugtown in Fairfield (6th St and Burlington Ave), highlighting our Trail System. On May 14th there will be a drawing for a child's bike, with the proceeds going to the Jefferson County Trails Council.

Apr 28...Update on the Cedar View Trail Bridge: The wet weather has delayed the contractor in pouring the concrete deck. The trail will be surfaced after the heavy equipment has left.

Apr 25...The JCTC & City of Fairfield are recipients of a $270,000 federal grant to build a bridge over the BNSF tracks north of Parkview Care Center. This bridge will enable the Loop Trail to be extended from the Walton parking lot all the way to Chautauqua Park.... The bridge should be built in 2003. A local match of $95,000 will be required.

Wood Duck boxes Apr 14...Two volunteers from Ducks Unlimited install the first of two new Wood Duck boxes in the Neff Family Wetlands. The western end of the dike has been modified. Look for the Trails Council to complete the last section of the bridge/boardwalk as soon as weather permits.

Goats on the Trail



Apr 03...All kinds of kids enjoy our trails. Come out and join them.



Mar 25...Update on the Cedar View Trail Bridge: The forms for the deck are now in place. The weather continues to be too cold to pour the concrete.

Feb 19, 2002...Two new hiking-only trails are now open at reservoir # 2. The East Trail starts at the north end of the parking lot on Pleasant Plain Rd. The West Trail starts near the bench on the west side of the reservoir. Signs mark the entrances. They can be muddy, and there are some small creeks and wet spots to cross.

Bridge Beams Jan 23...The last two cross-beams were installed today for the Cedar View Trail Bridge over the Cedar Creek. Four of the beams are 120 feet long, and two are 133 feet. Each weighs over 55 tons. The concrete decking will be poured in early spring. See more photos under "Trail Photographs".

Jan 20...Both piers have been poured for the Cedar View Trail Bridge over the Cedar Creek. The cross-beams may be installed next week, using two big cranes.

Jan 14...The Erma Hartman Trail was surfaced with limey chips from the entrance on Jackson Ave to Oakwood Nursery.

Jan 12, 2002...A "secret" trail was cleared through the woods on the western side of reservoir # 2 by JCTC volunteers. It was designed as a rustic hiking-only trail, to get away from the maddening crowds. Don't tell your friends.

Dec 20...Grant application submitted for bridge over Highway 1, north of MUM.

Dec 16...The base of the piers have been poured and the concrete is curing (the Cedar View Trail Bridge over the Cedar Creek).

Nov 17...Construction began on the 387' Cedar View Trail foot bridge over Cedar Creek. The contractor is Godbersen-Smith, from Ida Grove, IA.

Nov 14...The Fairfield Ledger printed an article about this website in the Nov 13 issue.

Nov 12...JCTC volunteers erected a split rail fence at the B Street parking lot on Sunday. It gives the parking lot a nice definition.

Nov 10...The Iowa DOT has given Cole Construction the green light to modify the dike in the Neff Family Properties, Inc. wetlands. Once that work is done, JCTC members will begin construction of the final 150' boardwalk.

Nov 2, 2001...The Mayor of Fairfield is in the process of naming members to a Water Committee which will develop a multipurpose masterplan for the use of 3 city reservoirs.

Back to top