OTTUMWA — This Saturday people will grab their shovels to clean up the mountain bike trail in Memorial Park.
The clean up starts at noon and ends at 2 p.m. Volunteers can then look forward to a bike trail ride at 2:30 p.m.
Organizer Jim Langland said he and other bikers started the cleanup in the fall of 2013. It became an annual event because because they wanted to provide a clear trail for bike enthusiasts and hikers.
“We ride the trail all the time,” he said. “It was a group decision in conjunction with Parks Director Gene Rathje. We thought once a year was a reasonable frequency to give the trail a fall cleaning. We get the most amount of riders in the fall,” Langland said. “We get the most traffic from September to December. Fifty riders came to ride the trail and came to decisions together.”
Volunteers do not need to RSVP to attend, they just need to show up with tools such as weed eaters, saws, gloves and boots.
“The work is light,” Langland said. “The large works have been done, the large trees have fallen, so the focus will be on cleaning debris. People will divide into small groups and take on a section. Each section takes an hour or two to clean per section.”
Langland’s goal is to not only get volunteers to help clean, but also introduce them to mountain bike riding and also to outdoor enthusiasts.
“Having volunteers is great, but the trail and cleanup is a great asset,” Langland said. “There are always plenty of volunteers. I hope that people are curious about the trail and see what it has to offer. It’s for bikers, hikers and those who like to walk in the woods.
“It’s a lot of fun to volunteer and ride,” he said. “It’s hard to believe six years have gone by. There’s a lot of new improvements that were added, and I am excited for the turnout. This is Ottumwa’s best-kept secret.”
For any questions, contact Langland at 641-777-3212 or Rathje at 641-682-8208.