by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Mission accomplished! The third and final phase of the Rogue River Nature Trail is now complete. Bultsma Construction has made good on a promised May 10 completion date and the award-winning trail is now open for foot traffic. The entire Rogue River Nature Trail was constructed primarily as a boardwalk with picturesque Rogue River vistas along with observation and fishing platforms. From its southern origin at James St. and Longview Dr. on the City’s southwest side, the trail extends northward to its terminus at a sidewalk connector to Chelsea Ct. in the Riverchase Neighborhood. Not quite a mile in total length and handicap accessible, the Rogue River Nature Trail begs to be discovered if you haven’t already done so.
Rogue River Nature Trail
Those pesky “Bucky Beavers” have been busy this past winter and spring above the dam and along both sides of the Rogue River. No tree, regardless of size, appears to be safe from “Bucky”! This huge tree, some 4 ft. in diameter (species undetermined) stands between the Rogue River Nature Trail boardwalk and the river about 70 ft. north of the Gazebo on the west side of the dam. The City has placed chicken wire screening around the tree over the gnawed area and this fix seems to be working. It’s a good thing because, if felled, this monster tree could make a splash that might create a Tsunami and knock the Rockford Historical Society Museum right off its foundation! The Squire would love to know what variety of tree this is and perhaps the “tree huggers” of Rockford might want to take a stroll over to Bucky’s work site and let the paper know.
by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Over 20 years ago Rockford City planners envisioned a pathway that would provide a beautiful and safe walkable trail (for children and families) along the west side of the Rogue River. In conception it was planned to begin at the City’s southern boundary and end at its northern border. More importantly, it was meant to provide a pedestrian pathway connecting the City neighborhoods on the west side of the river, one to another, and also to the heart of Rockford’s downtown. Construction has begun in recent weeks on Phase III (the final phase) of the trail that is known today as the Rogue River Nature Trail. It is anticipated that construction will be completed in early May of this year with a dedication ceremony planned during Rockford’s Start of Summer Celebration. “What began with land acquisition, as the west side of the river developed, now culminates with the construction of this third phase of the overall trail project,” said City Manager Michael Young. “All three phases have been funded by successful Natural Resource Trust Fund (NRTF) Grants totaling over $500,000,” adds a proud Young who personally masterminded the grant applications. Squire readers will recall that Phase II of the project, completed in 2008, was constructed as a riverside boardwalk with railings and lookouts. This beautiful elevated segment was so well received that in 2009 it was awarded the “Project of the Year Award – Structures” for projects less than $5 million by the American Public Works Association. In 2010 Rockford was awarded $98,000 by the NRTF with required local matching monies of $27,000. Combined, the $125,000 allowed the City to complete the third and final phase. Constructed as a grade-level boardwalk, the 800 linear ft. pathway will include an overlook platform extending over the river’s surface. Contractor Dave Bultsma of Bultsma Construction Co. tells us, “Things look good to have construction of Phase III wrapped up by May 10.” Along with sons Justin and Cody, and other company employees, Bultsma is proud to have had his company chosen to play a role in the construction of this beautiful award-winning nature trail. If you haven’t already taken advantage of this wonderful quality-of-life amenity offered by the City of Rockford, plan to […]
by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL At a recent Rogue River Watershed Council meeting, invited guest Rockford City Manager Michael Young let it be known that Rockford had been extremely fortunate in again receiving a DNR trust fund grant to complete the final phase (III) of the Rogue River Nature Trail. Envisioned by City planners some 20 years ago, the Rogue River Nature Trail was conceived to provide a beautiful and safe walkable trail along the west side of the Rogue River. More importantly, it was meant to provide a pedestrian pathway connecting the City neighborhoods on the west side of the river to the heart of Rockford’s downtown area. Two phases have been completed. Phase I, originating at the City’s southern border and continuing a third of a mile to Peppler Memorial Park, was completed in 2005. Inclusive of the first trail segment was the existing Trestle Bridge across the Rogue River and the White Pine Trail, allowing trail users from the City’s southwestern neighborhoods access to downtown and the walkway across the Rogue River Dam. Phase II, completed in 2008, connected to Phase I in Peppler Memorial Park at the gazebo and continued northward riverside for another third of a mile, ending in the vicinity of Prospect and W. Prospect streets. Constructed as a boardwalk with railings and lookouts, this beautiful elevated segment was so well conceived that in 2009 it was awarded the “Project of the Year Award—Structures” for projects less than $5 million by the American Public Works Association. If Phase II had one failing, it was that it terminated at its north end with no direct connection to riverside neighborhoods and the Highlands neighborhoods to the west. As a result, trail users had to make a u-turn and return to Peppler Park. With the awarding of 2011’s DNR trust fund grant to complete the missing link, Phase III will continue the trail riverside some 700 feet to an already existing sidewalk connector off Chelsea Court in the Riverchase neighborhood. Eureka! With the completion of this final segment, the Rogue River Nature Trail will open up pathways to all of the neighborhoods, from north to south, on the west side of the river, including the Highlands and Heritage Park. In doing so, […]