Exciting Activities for the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway

We have been very busy with various projects that pertain to the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway! We are excited to share this update with you!  The Byway has created a new 52-page brochure that highlights the six intrinsic qualities that compose a Byway. The qualities are: Archaeological, Cultural, Historical, Natural, Recreational, and Scenic. We are featuring many ideas for the traveler to "see" and "do" along the route, but know that there are many more. If you travel the Byway, please share your experiences on our Facebook page and let us know what you found interesting, fun, and informative. The brochure should be coming back from the printer any day and we are excited to share it at the Iowa State Fair when the Iowa Byways hosts their first-ever booth under the Grandstands. Different Byways will be featured during the 11-day event, with the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway there 3.5 of those days. The DeWitt Chamber, the Greene County Chamber and possibly other...
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Learning and Sharing About the Byway

The Corridor Management Plan is coming along nicely. From our community input meetings, reviewing city comprehensive plans, and discussions with officials in communities and counties along the Byway we certainly have an exhaustive amount of information and ideas to make a very detailed living document. I have kept my nose to the grindstone for a while now and did come up for air last week when I took a few days off. The second day back, I attended the Travel Federation of Iowa’s Legislative Showcase at the State Fairgrounds. This was the first event I attended last year when I began as the coordinator of the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway. I know SO much more about the Lincoln Highway and Byways in general than I did last year at this time. I was able to talk about the Lincoln Highway and the Iowa Byway program to the legislators as they passed by the Iowa Byways' booth and encouraged them to continue...
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Winter and the Byway

In my first year as the coordinator, I have enjoyed traveling on the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway and seeing the seasons change. I remember how wonderful it was to see the green grass emerge and the trees starting to bud. Then later in summer, due to timely rains, the grass remained green and the crops were maturing. This fall, everything seemed to be a golden color as crops were harvested and tree leaves began change color and drop. Today the sun is out, but the wind is howling and tomorrow's forecast is for SNOW! We all knew it would happen sometime and I guess we should be happy we have avoided it so far. I know as an Iowan, snow is inevitable. This forecast has me thinking. Yesterday, I was asked to submit winter photos along the Byway for a marketing program. As I looked at the photos we have on file, I began to make peace with the approaching season. Winter...
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Fall on the Byway

The calendar says FALL, but the weather has been summer-like for the most part. Even though, Mother Nature knows when to change the outdoor color scheme from a variety of greens to collections of golds, reds, and oranges. As we travel the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway, the green fields of corn have all turned gold and farmers are busy in the fields. Harvest time. I love harvest time! Just watch for slow moving vehicles and give the large equipment room to maneuver on the road. The kids might be back in school, but on the weekends there are many things to do. Several people have posted on Facebook that they are taking the Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad to see the beautiful views of the Des Moines River Valley near Boone. This is on my list of things to do this fall. There are many Pumpkin Patches along the route for families to visit and to ride hayrack rides out to fields...
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Corridor Management Plan Update

The Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway is a little over halfway through our 3-year process to create a new Corridor Management Plan for the Byway. The Byway travels through 13 counties and 43 communities in the central part of Iowa. By holding community input meetings in each county, we have included residents in this process. We have asked them to consider the 6 intrinsic qualities that make a Byway: historical, cultural, natural, scenic, recreational, and archaeological. What did they have in their community, what do they currently have in their community and what do they wish to see in their community in relation to these qualities? Historical is the most prominent quality of the Lincoln Highway. In Iowa, the train came through first and the Lincoln Highway followed the rail line going east and west across the state. They had already found, through trial and tribulations, the driest and flattest areas to lay their tracks and the best places build bridges to cross...
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Summertime on the Byway

Summer has been a busy time along the Byway! I did make it to the Mahanay Bell Tower Festival in Jefferson and rode the elevator 120 feet up to the observation deck of the 14-story Tower. What a view!! It gave me a whole new perspective of the countryside and it was great to see the Lincoln Highway as a ribbon running through it. I also enjoyed the beautiful Thomas Jefferson Gardens and RVP~1875, where they make furniture with only hand tools. Its like stepping back in time and they'll even show you what they are working on! Another great tour is the Sawmill Museum in Clinton in the Lyons District on the north side of the city. Lyons was the name of the town where the first bridge linked Illinois to Iowa on the Lincoln Highway. Lyons is now part of Clinton. The Sawmill Museum has great displays of the history of the lumber industry in Clinton. It was a...
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Festivals, Meskwaki, and more

Summer is here! Let the festivals begin. My first taste of a Lincoln Highway festival was at the Tama-Toledo Lincoln Highway Bridge Park Festival on May 15th. The park is really looking nice with the plantings and the City of Tama having repaved part of the driveway. The festival program included children singing, the Mayor of Tama and other dignitaries speaking, and Abe Lincoln reciting his Gettysburg Address. The highlight of the night was getting a photo op with Abe Lincoln! This past weekend I learned more about the history of the Meskwaki Nation at an event held in Ames in the North River Valley Park. The Meskwaki settled in Iowa around 1650 and their primary settlements were along the Mississippi River and rivers in Eastern Iowa, but the land they utilized ranged across the state. It was a hands-on event with a chance to grind corn and play with Native American toys and games. In the 1830's, under the Indian Removal...
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Getting to Know the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of getting to know the Byway. John Mazzello, the Corridor Management Plan project coordinator, and I have been traveling the across the state holding public meetings. The input from individuals and professionals has been stellar! It has been fun getting to know the communities and see what they have to offer to residents and Byway travelers. Where do I start with the scenery I have seen? The first day of traveling, everything looked all brown and yucky from winter's cold. Then a good rain happened in the night and the next day it seemed all the buds on trees and bushes had sprung to life. The grass started greening too. For so many past springs, I have worked in an office and not really been able to witness the "Spring has Sprung" phenomenon! I have seen many wetland restoration projects along the Byway. I especially like the one to the west of Tama near...
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Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway Corridor Management Planning

This spring, the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway’s Corridor Management Planning process moves forward into the Lincoln Highway’s many communities.  We are holding a series of public meetings to introduce the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway, and the concept of a Corridor Management Plan, to residents around the state. You may recall that a Corridor Management Plan (CMP) is a written document setting out a long-term plan for a byway and its important resources. The Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway’s original CMP was created before the Lincoln Highway was designated as an Iowa Byway, so it no longer reflects needs of Lincoln Highway communities and residents. The new revision of the CMP will reflect the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway as an active and thriving part of Iowa’s past and present heritage. Upcoming public meetings are April 22 in Ames, April 23 in Toledo, April 25 in Marion, April 27 in Missouri Valley and Denison, April 28 in Carroll, and May 5 in Nevada.  Please visit...
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Conservation Innovation Grant

The Iowa League of RC&DS received a Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) and a REAP Conservation Education Grant to create two interpretive panels for each Iowa Byway describing an employed conservation method. “The CIG program is a voluntary program intended to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies while leveraging Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection, in conjunction with agricultural production”, according to the program’s website. “CIG enables the Natural Resources Conservation Service to work with other public and private entities to accelerate technology transfer and adoption of promising technologies and approaches to address some of the Nation’s most pressing natural resource concerns.” Some of the sites that were considered for these interpretive panels along the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway were bogs, wetlands, prairies, and high tunnel towers. The location needed to be where travelers could pull safely off the road and visibly see the sign. It needed to be on or near a conservation practice site. The...
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