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New Iola trail system funded by Kansas Health Foundation attract - KOAM TV 7

New Iola trail system funded by Kansas Health Foundation attracts volunteers

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Nothing compares to being on a bike, for Randy Rasa.

"You can see things in more detail. You can smell things. You can feel the wind," said Rasa, an avid bicyclist in Kansas. 

It's a natural fit that Rasa is volunteering to help clear the land for the Lehigh Portland Trails, a multi-use natural space just south of downtown Iola.  

"This is going to be really interesting resource for Iola because there's nothing like this within about 15 miles," said Rasa.

"There's a variety of options for people who want to get out for a leisurely stroll, get on a mountain bike, go up and down hills, and really see some terrain that you don't commonly find in this part of the country," said David Toland, executive director of Thrive Allen County, the economic development group that is driving the project. 

Once the site of the former Lehigh Portland Cement Company, the land is now owned by Iola Industries Inc, which agreed to allow the county to turn the space into a trail system.

"This is a breathtaking piece of land. Part of our strategy here is to encourage people to get out and be active by using the natural assets that our around us."

The trails will span approximately 10 miles, of which 8 miles will be single track trails. And then there will be an extra wide two mile trail that will covered in crushed limestone.

"It will be available to everybody from people in wheelchairs to folks who want to run or walk or bike," said Toland.

Volunteers from various counties have been coming out to help clear the path. Rasa says he hopes to see more.

"Once they see this land and what we're building, they're going to feel a part of it."

The goal is to have the main portion of the trails completed by the summer. Some of the single track trails are completed and are already being enjoyed.

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