Ice Age Trail Hikes

by Dianne Koch

Want a nice day trip getaway hike within 90 miles of Dubuque? Want to see interesting scenery? Want to explore a 1200-mile continuous trail that is designated as a National Scenic Trail? What??!!?, you say.  Near Dubuque?

Yes, the Ice Age Trail, a National Scenic Trail on par with the Appalachian Trail and John Muir Trail, follows the glacial endpoints of the last glacier that crept from northern Wisconsin southward. The geological features, such as moraines, kettle ponds, kames, and drumlins that remain provide an interesting backdrop for hikers. With the help of the Ice Age Trail Handbook, hiking has never been easier.

Over the past few months, Kevin and I have traversed three unique segments: the Devil’s Staircase in Janesville, Wisconsin; the Kettle Moraine State Park South Unit near Eagle, Wisconsin; and the Table Bluff Segment in Cross Plains, Wisconsin.

The Ice Age Trail Handbook, available from the Ice Age Trail Alliance’s website IceAgeTrail.org, is full of useful information; detailed maps of trails; amenities such as parking lots, restrooms, and restaurants, and Trail Town features; as well as wildlife, plants, and geographical features. The trail is kept in fine shape by county volunteer groups.

All three segments proved to be unique, interesting, and worth seeing in all seasons.  Visiting IceAgeTrail.org for day hike options is a good way to start. Invest in their Handbook as a good way to study hiking possibilities and support the organization.  In addition, a topographical atlas is also available for each segment of the trail. Finally, a downloadable app can also give pertinent details; however, cell service can be slow in new territories where the phone is constantly searching for towers, thus running out of energy sooner than normal. That’s why we recommend buying the physical book.

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Wave-Cel Technology Reduces Concussions


Bontrager’s latest helmet reduces the possibility of a concussion due to a revolutionary new WaveCel technology.  Bontrager explains that the collapsible cellular structure “absorbs the force of the impact before it reaches” the rider’s head, thus reducing by 48 times the likelihood of a concussion compared to a standard helmet.  The cells “flex, crumple, and glide” the energy away from the rider’s head. The helmet also sports a Boa dial and fit pads to adjust comfortably to every head. Receiving a 5-star rating—a perfect rating—by Virginia Tech’s safety rating system, these helmets retail from $150-299.

While the cost may seem high, concussions can be very serious to overcome. When suffering a concussion, patients can struggle from long-lasting memory issues that can hinder thought processes for months. What’s protection worth to you? Check your local bike store for more information.

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The Challenge of Biking in a Car-Dependent Community

by Renee Tyler, City of Dubuque Transportation Services


Dubuque is a community rich in culture, located in the Driftless region of the Midwest.  Unlike many areas of Iowa, our city is hilly, and some of our streets are narrow, leaving us with very few bike paths and lanes to encourage the use of bikes as an alternate option for travel throughout the city. As the Director of Transportation for the City of Dubuque, I grapple daily with the challenge of promoting bike riding as more than just a pastime in the world of transportation management.

So what can we do to turn the concept of walkable communities, high-quality bike lanes, and a strong public transportation system from a host of pipe dreams into attainable goals that will make our region more sustainable, healthier, and more equitable?

Let’s look at some fun options that will incentivize people to ride bikes.  Beginning with organizing a walk audit, this audit allows bike enthusiasts to band together to assess street conditions.  Your audit can assist in identifying bike lanes and areas that are most suitable to build biking routes throughout the city.

Engage your council members, and invite them out to meet with you.  Have a plan of action that is workable.

Encourage your employer to use incentives to get people to bike to work. These incentives can include free lunch, monetary stipends, gym memberships, etc.  Don’t forget to ask for bike racks at your place of employment to secure your bikes.

From the City side, I encourage you to participate in Bike to Work Week.  This is the week that you can ride to work, and you have the opportunity to ride the bus back to your neighborhood for free.  Your bike will ride safely on the bike rack affixed to the front of the bus. Participation in one bike to work day can garner enough support for a bike to work week, month, or when weather permits year-round.  Who knows? You might just like the concept of riding your bike and riding the bus!

Our community is a great community.  We are constantly looking for ways to improve and maintain the wonderful quality of life that is offered here.  In order for me to do my part in supporting this initiative, I need your help, your input, and your support.  Please share your ideas and suggestions with me.  My contact information is: Rtyler@cityofdubuque.org and my office number is 563.589.4341.

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Bee Banch Railroad Culverts (Tunnel) Project to Start in April

by Kirstin Hall, City of Dubuque Bee Branch Communications Specialist and the City of Dubuque Engineering Department


The Bee Branch Trail will have a new element to enjoy by 2021. A tunnel traveling under the Chicago Pacific Railroad at Garfield Street will connect the Upper Bee Branch Trail to the Lower Bee Branch Detention Basin Trail.  The contract has been awarded, and construction will start this spring.

The Railroad Culverts Project is a critical phase of the larger Bee Branch Watershed Flood Mitigation Project and, once completed, will increase the flood mitigation system’s capacity to protect the area from a 75-year rain event to a 500-year rain event. The railroad culverts project involves using micro-tunneling methods to install six 8-foot diameter culverts under the Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) tracks along Garfield Ave. This will allow stormwater to drain more efficiently from the Upper Bee Branch Creek to the Lower Bee Branch Creek and 16th St. Detention Basin.
When the City sought public input on the design of the Bee Branch Creek improvements, residents voiced a desire for pedestrian passage under the railroad tracks. The proposed plans and specifications include the City assuming ownership of the two existing Bee Branch box culverts and utilizing them for both flood control and as a hike/bike path under the railroad tracks when creek levels permit. This will allow for the direct connection of the trail systems associated with the lower and upper sections of the Bee Branch Creek.

All the culverts will be installed and functioning by summer 2020, and the prep work for the bike tunnel will be completed during the culvert project. Then, the trail connection project will be bid separately in the spring of 2021, with paving taking approximately 3 months, so all will be completed by late summer 2021. The city is currently seeking grant funding to help cover the cost of the trail.

An 8-minute video can be seen at https://www.cityofdubuque.org/2579/Bee-Branch-Railroad-Culverts with drawings and timelines.


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Trail to Encircle the Bee Branch Detention Basin

by Dianne Koch


By the fall of 2020, a new pedestrian bike trail will encircle the Bee Branch Detention Basin. The project is slated for construction this fall or next spring. A current trail exists on 16th Street behind the Kwik Stop, Fazoli’s, and Dairy Queen. A new looped segment will run south alongside Kerper Boulevard, travel west on E. 12th Street, skirt behind the solar farm and connect to the Sycamore Street Bridge and back to 16th Street.  Another spur from the southwest corner will run south to the Intermodal Transportation Center and the Millwork District. We welcome more walking and biking options that allow that allow citizens to enjoy the wildlife of the Bee Branch Basin.



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City Update on Walking and Biking Trails

Update with City Walking and Biking Trails

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Savanna Trail

Savanna Trail

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Mountain Biking Trails in Dubuque

Area Mountain Biking is Climbing in Popularity and Trails


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My DBQ Mobile App Now Up and Running

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Dan Burden Speaks at Sustainability Conference

Dan Burden Speaks at Dubuque Sustainability Conference

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