MASON CITY — The groundbreaking for the Riverhawk Trail portion of the new Prairie Rock Trails in Mason City was held this morning.

The Riverhawk Trail located between the John Adams Middle School football field and the Winnebago River is one of the legs to link the broader regional trail system in north-central Iowa. This segment of trail will provide an opportunity for skills development and programming to the students at Mason City High School and John Adams Middle School.


Mason City Community School District assistant superintendent Bridgette Exman says it helps achieve some of the district’s goals for students.   “Working with a future focus in mind in helping our students to really have a vision of what a healthy and active lifestyle looks like as an adult right here in north Iowa. It’s a community-embedded project. We couldn’t have done what we do for our kids without great community partners that have made it possible for us to have a mountain bike for every kid to ride grades five through 12.”

Exman says having the trail on campus is a huge benefit.   “We’re often working in these little time increments of a class period which might be about 45 minutes, and by the time you get kids to maybe change clothes, you have very limited time to actually get out and do things. The proximity here to the high school and to John Adams Middle School means that our kids will get to put a bike on a trail in a PE class.”

Exman says students will be able to enjoy mountain biking in a group setting.  “We know that a basic human need is a sense of belonging, and we think about the ways we experience that belonging as adults, it is often as a member of a community like North Iowa Human Powered Trails or mountain biking clubs. For us to give the opportunity for kids to experience that from a very young age is a great opportunity, and for us it’s a great equalizer to be able to do this at school. We’ve got kids who don’t have bikes at home who don’t have parents who bike, so we can introduce all kids to a really great, healthy lifetime activity.”


Rock Solid Trail Contracting of Bentonville Arkansas is the contractor constructing this as well as the Prairie Rock Bike Park that had its groundbreaking last week. Trail planner and designer Josh Blum says the Riverhawk Trail will be a good place to learn for inexperienced mountain bikers.   “There will definitely be some features. These trails are mainly what we call blue and green trails, which are beginner and intermediate level trails, but there will definitely be some optional features that people can choose to use or people can choose not to use, so that way people can further their skill set as they see fit.”

The trail will also allow for a loop near the river and serve as the closest trail to several neighborhoods on the east side of Mason City.

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