Archaeological Survey Slowing Start To Trail Project In Glenwood

Randy Romens checks out a piece of the pedestrian bridge that will cross Keg Creek as part of the trail project in Glenwood.

Mills County Trails has as least one more hurdle to clear before construction can commence on the first phase of a proposed recreational trail and trailhead in Glenwood.

The newest hurdle is an archaeological survey that must be completed on the 10-foot by 9271-foot, 2.1-acre site along Keg Creek and the athletic field complex near Glenwood Community High School. The survey is a requirement for a $100,000 Land and Water Conservation  Fund (LWCF) grant awarded to the project through the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

The LWCF program is a federally-funded grant program that provides match funds for outdoor recreation area development and acquisition. Iowa’s cities and counties are eligible to participate. Iowa DNR lists the City of Glenwood as the grant applicant for the nearly $750,000 trail project.

The Glenwood City Council recently approved a $7,250 contract with Wisconsin-based Midwest Archaeological Consultants for Phase 1 of the survey. According to the contract, the survey was recommended by the Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist because there are “previously-recorded historic properties in the area potentially intersecting the project area.”

The Glenwood Archaeological District is a nationally recognized historic district and archaeological sites located in and around the city of Glenwood. Earth lodge, burial and artifact sites from the Glenwood Culture have been previously identified within the district. A contemporary replica of a Glenwood Culture earth lodge once stood on the site where the trailhead is being proposed.

The survey will be divided into three parts: 1.) research of previously-recorded archaeological sites in the area; 2.) sub-surface sampling through shovel testing and/or soil coring to sample for buried soil horizons containing cultural materials; 3.) a comprehensive report detailing the fieldwork, methodology, findings and recommendations.

The survey is paying paid for by Mills County Trails. Randy Romens, a member of the Mills County Trails Executive Committee, questioned the need for the survey.

“We’re scraping off six inches of soil and replacing it with concrete,” he said. “But, it’s something we have to do.”

The proposed trail project includes placement of a pedestrian bridge over Keg Creek near the proposed trailhead. Romens said it’s highly doubtful the creek bed would have been used as a burial ground site.

It’s Romens’ understanding that once the survey begins, Midwest Archaeological Consultants will have 30 days to get the fieldwork completed and report the findings of the survey. He noted with each delay, comes more cost to getting the trail started.

“Every day we talk about this, the price goes up,” he said.

The grant application stated, “Glenwood Trail and Trailhead is a key community project that will provide a safe route to schools, community recreation, and an active transportation link. This phase of the project will include 1.55 miles of trails which will connect athletic fields, the school, and provide a hub for the Frontier Iowa Trails Network.”

The Frontier Iowa Trails network is a group of western Iowans who are working to develop a regional multi-use trails system.

Rebecca Castle Laughlin of Golden Hills RC&D assisted Mills County Trails with the grant application and is continuing to provide guidance and assistance throughout the process.


The Opinion-Tribune

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