Alicia Sotherland

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Through the years, Roswell Garst's son Stephen, an avid hunter, had bought land along the Middle Raccoon River just south of Coon Rapids. When he died in 2005, his wife, Mary, announced this to her five daughters:

will Mbt Shoes Walkers Warehouse spread beyond saddle sitters to demonstrate how to add luster to rural Iowa.

Sisters Rachel, Liz and Jennifer Garst, members of the Whiterock board of directors, knew that Iowans connected with trails. Although the state has hundreds of miles of multi use trails, there are fewer for mountain bikers and equestrians. They worked for five years on fundraising, and secured an $829,000 federal grant. The key piece was finally added in October, a $400,000 grant from Vision Iowa Community Attraction and Tourism that will allow construction to begin toward a fall 2014 completion.

Though it's long been open to the public for camping, hiking and other outdoor events, few aside from dedicated outdoor wanderers know of Vans Tan

Conrad Kramer, the new executive director of Whiterock Conservancy near Coon Rapids, stands on what will become a bike trail.

"We need to draw people to our region," said Doug Carpenter of the Coon Rapids Development Group. "This trail system will do that."

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"We are an unusual animal because there aren't many nonprofit land trusts around for public use," said Rachel Garst, granddaughter of Roswell Garst. "So it's our goal to open up Whiterock."

Teams of scientists began cataloging the flora and fauna. Native oak savanna and prairie remnants were restored, and the Garsts ran lodging and campgrounds and hosted star watching parties and barn dances on the property. Agriculture experts worked to demonstrate ecologically friendly farming practices on the land, which help support the conservancy.

Mbt Shoes Walkers Warehouse

Mbt Shoes Walkers Warehouse

"The conservancy is one of things that will keep Coon Rapids alive," Mary Garst said.

A critical piece of fundraising was secured in October to begin an elaborate network of 35 miles of dirt trails for mountain bikers and horseback riders along the rolling river valley of timber, savanna and prairie at Whiterock Conservancy near Coon Rapids.

´╗┐Swapping seed corn for bikes

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The Garsts got out of the seed corn business in the 1980s, and a series of international agriculture companies have produced seed corn in the old Garst facilities since. The latest, the Swiss company Syngenta, announced in early spring that it will close its seed corn production and supply facility at the end of the year, eliminating more than 30 jobs.

it or understand what it is.

"Iowa is a biologically altered place. This is special because it's a rare jewel," said Kramer, the executive director.

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Though it will be touted as the finest single track biking network within 400 miles when it opens next fall, it is hoped that the appeal Skechers Running Shoes For Girls

Mbt Shoes Walkers Warehouse

Mbt Shoes Walkers Warehouse

symbol of Iowa's productivity, with an emerging champion of frivolity the bicycle.

But even eight years after its launch, mentioning Whiterock Conservancy brings puzzled looks to many Iowans.

Launched in 2006, Whiterock Conservancy would include parcels of the 5,000 acres of family land to be donated every year. Scientists and natural resources officials provided expert advice on transforming the private nonprofit into seven square miles of preserved and restored land along the river, incorporating both sustainable agriculture and public engagement.

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Roswell Garst launched one of the nation's first hybrid seed corn plants in 1930, and Garst seed became known far and wide. He later made headlines by reaching out to feared communist leader Nikita Khrushchev and hosting him at the Garst family farm in 1959.

Mary Garst described their reaction as linguistically Midwestern: "You bet!"

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It's also a shining light in a sea of large row crop farming operations that dominate Iowa's landscape.

Experienced land trust director Conrad Kramer was lured to Coon Rapids from the Mojave Desert last spring because he found the conservancy unique in its combination of goals to preserve nature, attract public use and shepherd a sustainable agriculture operation.

It's part of a larger vision for a town that Iowa has heavily invested in. Coon Rapids secured a $1 million Iowa Great Places grant in 2005 and used it to construct a seven mile trail (paved and cinder) through town that links to Whiterock. The money went towards city park amenities and nearly a dozen other projects. Whiterock has been the linchpin.

"This land is your inheritance. I want to give it away."

Maybe it takes replacing corn, the very Mbt Mens Shoes Size 9

Mbt Shoes Walkers Warehouse

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