We congratulate Whitney Davis, the trails coordinator for the Iowa DNR Parks, along with crewmen Pete Englund (crew foreman) and Tim Wermers (field admin and logistics) for the Iowa DNR AmeriCorps Trail Crew. The Coalition for Recreational Trails has chosen the Iowa DNR AmeriCorps Trail Crew project as the winner of the CRT’s Annual Achievement Award for outstanding use of Recreational Trails Program funds in the Youth Conservation/Service Corps and Community Outreach category. The national award will be presented on June 10th in Washington, D.C. at a special awards ceremony on Capitol Hill.
American Trails sponsors Coalition for Recreational Trails awards, and is a national, nonprofit organization working on behalf of all trail interests, including hiking, bicycling, mountain biking, horseback riding, water trails, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, trail motorcycling, ATVs, snowmobiling and four-wheeling. The Iowa Horse Council is a member of American Trails, as is the American Horse Council, Back Country Horsemen of America, and the Equestrian Land Conservation Resource.
Davis’ program emphasizes community service based environmental learning for its exponential land stewardship benefits. The DNR trails program utilizes an AmeriCorps labor force with roots in the Civilian Conservation Corps to build and maintain state parks trails. Davis has been with the program for nine years. She worked in sustainable agriculture for ten years prior, and has coordinated various AmeriCorps sustainable energy, agriculture, and environmental programs. She has supported and been an active participant in the IHC annual Equestrian and Soft Trails Conference for two years, presenting “Trails Maintenance 101,” and showing before and after photos of the Trail Crew’s work and highlighting successful soft trail maintenance techniques which are applied statewide.
Iowa state parks that include equestrian trails are:
- Brushy Creek State Recreation Area – Webster County
- Elk Rock State Park – Marion County
- Lake of Three Fires State Park – Taylor County
- Nine Eagles State Park – Decatur County
- Shimek State Forest – Van Buren County
- Stephens State Forest – Lucas County
- Volga River State Recreation Area – Fayette County
- Waubonsie State Park – Fremont County
- Yellow River State Forest – Allamakee County
Davis also oversees the DNR website for equestrian trails at http://www.iowadnr.gov/Recreation/Equestrian.aspx, where you can find a number of parks and forests suited to your needs, including some with equestrian campgrounds. This webpage also includes an equestrian trail riding state map and brochure: Guide to State and County Managed Equestrian Trails . Current state park and trail closings can also be found at iowadnr.gov/parkclosures.
Equestrians in Iowa are grateful to Davis for her service to the state of Iowa, and her leadership of the Iowa DNR AmeriCorps Trail Crew to preserve parks, educate, maintain, and keep equestrian trails healthy and safe to ride. Congratulations, Whitney and crew on a well-deserved award!