The recreational trails winter program aims to increase recreational opportunities on area trails, and at the same time, reduce park maintenance costs and bolster sustainability initiatives.
City crews will remove snow only from trails that are used by commuters or that connect to schools and essential service areas. The remaining trails, as well as recreational loops and some parking lots, will be left uncleared to accommodate snowshoeing, cross country skiing, skate skiing and sledding. Less snow-clearing also boosts the City’s sustainability efforts and lowers maintenance costs by reducing machinery use, lowering fuel consumption and minimizing staff overtime. Snow removal at the dog parks is contracted out.
To determine which trails require snow clearing, the City relies on data from Strava Labs, which identifies the most highly used City trails. Strava Labs members, including 1,500 registered trail users in Johnson County, use a Strava app on a smartphone or a GPS device to track their trail use. The company then uses this information to create heat maps and compile data regarding route usage and user frequency.
Trails or segments of trails in Benton Hill Park, City Park (Upper and Lower), Hunter’s Run Park, Peninsula Park, Sycamore Greenspace, Waterworks Prairie Park, Willow Creek Park and Windsor Ridge Park will not be maintained in the winter. Signage will be posted on the trails to notify users of the changes.