Upgrade set for Ace Park Trail
Grant to assist in path update
August 20. 2012 7:00AM
A winding path through the trees down by the Dells Channel will likely see an upgrade soon, as the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks has awarded the City of Dell Rapids a grant to update the Ace Park Trail.
The hiking trail includes a half-mile stretch running along the Big Sioux that connects the Sioux River Red Rock Trail pedestrian bridge, installed last year, to the scenic overlook off of Highway 115.
“I think that’s the selling point,” city administrator Justin Weiland said, “that it connects two points of interest.”
In the city’s grant request, improvements listed included gravel surfacing to widen the trail, indicative stone signage at trailheads and replacement of rotting growth and trees.
The city’s estimated cost on the project was $52,382, asking that the state’s Parks and Recreation Division foot the materials cost of $21,940 and the community put up the remaining $30,442.
The Ace Park Scenic Hiking Trail, which runs along the Dells Channel, was named as such in 1995 when Verdus “Ace” Park instated the “Dells of the Sioux Scenic Trail.” He and other locals put in the labor to put together the path, which includes the use of utility poles, railroad ties and quartzite gravel.
In addition, Park built and maintained the trail through the years, as well as marked species of trees along the pathway. He passed away in March 2006.
The family of Ace Park donated five acres of land to the city in November 2009, and the city set forth plans with the Landscape Design program at South Dakota State University (SDSU) to jumpstart the renovation plans.
“It was given to the city with the promise to update and maintain it,” Weiland said of the proposed work, which will not likely start until next spring.
The grant acquired by the city is meant to rehabilitate the overgrowth and deterioration that has happened since then. Weiland also said the enhanced Ace Park Trail would complement the recently completed Sioux River Red Rock Trail.
According to the city’s grant application, the renovation would ideally attract more outdoor classroom activities, family outings and cyclists.
Plans to raise community funds to pay for the remaining cost of the trail include volunteer work by the local trailway association, the Dell Rapids Lions Club and the Dells Forward Youth, as well as the City of Dell Rapids.
The Recreational Trails Program is a federal aid assistance system by which states provide and maintain trails with up to 80 percent reimbursement, as stipulated, in this state, by the Division of Parks and Recreation.