RAVE on the Great Western Trail

Posted on April 21, 2017 in Blog

More than 40 cyclists, local land owners, naturalists, outdoor enthusiasts and folks who just decided to spend spring evening lending a hand to the land met on the Great Western Trail this past Tuesday for a RAVE (Random Act of Volunteering for Earth).

Together, volunteers removed brush from a patch of remnant prairie that sits hidden along the trail just south of Cumming. The hill on which the prairie sits may not look like much now, but in the next few weeks it will come alive, providing scenic beauty for trail users and wildlife habitat for pollinators, birds and other animals.

“…the prairie would not have improved to this level without your help,” said Derek McKay, a dedicated volunteer that has taken the initiative to care for this small but beautiful piece of prairie for the past few years. “Please come back, check it out often and watch it transform now that all the brush is gone.”

After the hour-and-a-half-long event, volunteers met at the Cumming Tap to enjoy each other’s company, tacos and a well-deserved drink.

INHF helped establish the Great Western Trail, a 16.5 mile “rail trail” that runs from Des Moines to Martensdale. It opened to the public 1992, a hundred years after it was established as a rail line from Des Moines to St. Joseph, Mo. The trail is now managed jointly by the Polk and Warren County Conservation Boards, which partnered with INHF on this event. 

This is the second RAVE INHF has hosted at Cumming Prairie. RAVEs are spontaneous events bring people together on short notice to make a serious impact in a small amount of time. To learn more about RAVEs and sign up to receive alerts about future events, visit inhf.org/volunteer/rave, email RAVE@inhf.org or text “RAVE” to 515-505-3666.