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Cedar River Floyd Access Project would create boat ramp for canoeists

  • A boat ramp could be constructed near an access point on the Cedar River right down from the Floyd Bridge on Highway 218. Photo submitted

  • A boat ramp could be constructed near an access point on the Cedar River right down from the Floyd Bridge on Highway 218. Photo submitted

  • A boat ramp could be constructed near an access point on the Cedar River right down from the Floyd Bridge on Highway 218. Photo submitted

By Kelly Terpstra, kterpstra@charlescitypress.com

The headwaters of the Cedar River originate in Dodge County, Minnesota.

Even for the seasoned canoeist or kayaker, a trip downriver from that starting point to Charles City and its Whitewater Park is no small feat.

By car, that distance would span more than 70 miles and take about 1½ hours of driving time.

To float the Cedar River that far into Charles City from one of its two beginning forks in southeastern Minnesota would last all day for sure.

River enthusiasts could soon have a relaxing spot to stop and stretch their legs and rest their arms on their journey downstream once their vessels reach the town of Floyd.

Floyd City Council member Cleone King is helping spearhead a project, along with Floyd County Conservation Director Adam Sears, to build an access point near the Cedar River along Highway 218 just north of Floyd.

A proposed cement boat ramp there would give boaters, kayakers, tubers, canoeists and emergency personnel a more usable area to enter or exit the water.

“It’s steep and people have to carry their canoe or whatever up the hill,” said King. The area is used now, “but it’s not very accommodating.”

“So the new access would be cut down to a 2-to-1 slope, rocked and cemented,” she said.

King said every year there is a canoe club that begins its descent downstream from the start of the Cedar River in Minnesota and makes its way past Floyd.

“Floyd is an ideal spot where many people will try to carry their canoe up the hill,” said King.

Being able to take a rest near the Floyd Bridge for water-weary members of a float team would be a welcome reprieve if the project comes to fruition.

“Not every kid is going to sit in a canoe for 8 to 10 hours. If they can get out after four, that’s ideal,” said King.

The estimated cost of the Floyd Bridge river access project is $14,000. King and the Floyd City Council have obtained a $4,000 grant from the Floyd County Community Foundation to go toward that.

King is working with fellow Floyd City Council member Charlie Newman to raise the remaining amount of funds through donations of volunteer work, materials and money. King said she has applied for several other small grants from local agencies as well.

“It would be used a whole lot more if it were not as steep,” said King. “Instead of a weeds-strewn trail, it would be an actual ramp.”

Sears and Floyd County Conservation received permission from the Iowa Department of Transportation to go ahead with the project. The Iowa DOT owns the land where the boat ramp would be.

This proposed project comes about two years after Floyd County Conservation completed a similar project southeast of Charles City on the Cedar River near the Midway Bridge Access on 240th Street.

The Floyd Bridge plan for a boat ramp would include grubbing trees, cutting slope and hauling in riprap to make the landscape near the river’s shoreline easier to get in and out of.

“One of the main areas in the county is right there. So for us to have an area between Idlewild and Rotary Park, just for people if they don’t want to go in for the whole day trip from Idlewild to Charles City,” said Sears.

The project has a targeted completion date of late summer or early fall this year.

“We’d like to get started as soon as we can, but you always have to wait for spring water fluctuations to drop,” said Sears.

Sears and his department maintains and oversees five access points on the Cedar River in Floyd County — Floyd Bridge, Midway Bridge, Idlewild, Seter’s Landing and Rotary Park.

“Our goal is to network the river and connect the dots by putting in these access points so people can utilize the river,” said Sears.

Donations can be made to the city of Floyd, earmarking them for the Cedar River Floyd Access Project. A tax-deductible receipt will be returned upon request. One can mail a contribution to the City of Floyd, Box 159, Floyd IA 50435.

Anyone willing to donate materials or labor should call Cleone King at 641-220-0246 or Adam Sears, Floyd County Conservation, at 641-756-3490.

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