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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Lower Big Sioux Watershed Trail: A Proposal

Our man Alan Van Ormer gets an article in that Sioux Falls paper about delays and possible changes on the proposed Dell Rapids Recreation Trail. Our friends in Dell Rapids are trying figure out where they should run their trail, whether the bank along the river is stable enough to support asphalt and bicycles, and whether they can afford to build it now or later.

So here's the wild thought of the morning: let's think big and build a Lower Big Sioux Watershed recreation trail all the way from Dell Rapids to Madison! We want to expand our own four-mile bike trail; why not turn it into an full-blown adventure tourism destination? Lake County offers excellent bicycle scenery with all of its lakes and stream courses; all that water runs right to the Big Sioux River in the Dell Rapids area. Madison and Dell Rapids could get together with the Minnehaha and Lake County governments, mark out some trails in some of the more interesting terrain, and start paving, from the banks of the Big Sioux in the Dell Rapids ciy park, up through the hilly country to Chester, around Brant Lake and Lake Madison, on west to Lake Herman State Park, Camp Lakodia, and right to my front door by the boat ramp on the west side of Lake Herman.

Or we could just run it straight from the Dell Rapids Dairy Queen to the Madison Dairy Queen, since there's nothing better after a 30-mile bike ride than ice cream. (DeLon! Big sponsorship and marketing opportunity! Think about it!)

You may think our newly declared recession is no time to be talking about more government spending, but hey! An infusion of federal cash and some good CCC-style jobs are just what an economic downturn calls for (Nobel laureate Paul Krugman agrees). Building a nice long bike trail could probably even count as one of President-Elect Obama's green-collar jobs. A wonderful trail like this would make Madison and Dell Rapids destinations for bicycle tourists. That kind of tourism would generate jobs, maybe even bring a good bike shop back to town (Glen Olson, we miss you!).

Tourism, jobs, economic development... and healthy fun! Heck of an idea! Where's that Forward Madison money?

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