Grant Wood Trail
The Grant Wood Trail Corridor began as a railway in the 1870’s between Marion and Savanna, Illinois. Later, this Chicago, Milwaukee, St Paul and Pacific Rail would carry freight and passengers across the Midwest until 1980. In 1997, the Linn County Trails Association (LCTA) began discussions with Jones County residents who promoted a Linn County Trail to Martelle. Working with several organizations, the LCTA acquired the trail in 1998. LCTA gifted the trail to Linn County Conservation in 2005, with the expectation of future development of a trail corridor to Jones County as funding became available.
The Grant Wood Trail is located off of Highway 13 near Marion's Waldo's Rock Park. An underpass under the four lanes of Highway 13 connects with new trails coming east out of Marion.
The trail is currently undergoing improvements from Waldo's Rock Park, which is located just east of Highway 13, to Oxley Road. This 2.8 mile section will be hard surfaced (asphalt) with a grass shoulder with completion expected in the fall of 2022. The trail is not a contiguous link east of this section as some of the former railroad line is now private property. County right-of-way areas will be used to reconnect the trail at these gaps to Creekside Road. Bid letting for this paving project takes place in the fall of 2022.
Additional study is taking place on the grass trail route from Creekside Road to Paralta. In addition, the city of Springville has expressed interest in connecting to the trail. Public meetings will be held in fall of 2022 regarding this future development.
The Grant Wood Trail will be closed between Waldo’s Rock Park in Marion to Oxley Road starting August 8 to apply asphalt on this 2.8 mile trail section. A two month closure is expected while L.L. Pelling completes the work. The project was made possible in part by a $400,000 Iowa Department of Transportation Recreation Trails grant, Linn County Water and Land Legacy Bonds and Local Option Sales Tax funds.