• Thu November 07 2013
  • Posted Nov 7, 2013

Think back to President Dwight Eisenhower’s dream of connecting a patchwork of state and federal roads into an American interstate network.

Impossible, right?

The keepers of another American dream convene in the Quad-Cities this weekend to further the American Discovery Trail, a similarly audacious vision that has come to life over 6,800 miles of off-road pavement, asphalt and gravel coast-to-coast across 15 states.

Their arrival comes in a trail-crazy town where, like these ADT champions, our communities worked toward a common goal that linked separate trails along both riverfronts. That vision changed our community.

The ADT vision is changing our nation.


Intrepid hikers and cyclists have covered the ADT’s coast-to-coast northern and southern route. But most of the use comes from those taking shorter treks within their own communities.

Much of the ADT work is organizational, sharing best practices and helping local leaders connect to the bigger plan. A bigger dream is congressional action to add the ADT to the National Park Service system of 30 trails, including the Appalachian, Lewis and Clark, and the Mormon Pioneers trails.

The Iowa portion of the American Discovery Trail is woven from existing Wabash Trace, Raccoon River Valley, Heart of Iowa, Pioneer, Comet, Cedar Valley and Hoover Nature trails that connect through the Q-C to Illinois’ Great River, Hennepin, I&M Canal and Old Plank Road trails through to Indiana.

Quad-Citians have done their part by supporting state, county and especially city trail construction to a point that trails aren’t an anomaly here. They are part of our culture.

That culture embraces fitness, nature, reflection and even spirituality. Taking in the ADT’s grandeur often leads to discoveries of the inner self.

Our cities’ and counties’ elected boards each set Saturday as American Discovery Trail Day across our community. Support them and the ADT day by continuing to back local trail development that has redefined our riverfront and community.

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