Newly built boat ramp provides launch platform into Cedar River just outside Floyd
By Kelly Terpstra, firstname.lastname@example.org
If the mud, sticks or grass wouldn’t stop you, the pain in your back would.
Solution solved for canoeists or kayakers looking to enter or exit the Cedar River just below the Floyd Bridge along Highway 218.
Through hard work and donations, a clear and safer access into the Cedar River has been constructed with a gravel path that leads to a concrete boat ramp.
“Cars never got down here before,” said Charlie Newman, a Floyd City Council member who helped pave the way for construction of the entrance upgrade.
The cement boat ramp gives boaters, kayakers, tubers, canoeists and emergency personnel a more usable area to enter or exit the water.
“It’s so much nicer,” said Newman, vice president for the Waterloo branch of First Security Bank. “It’s an in or an out because up river there’s several places to drop in and some people like to get out at Floyd. Some people get in at Floyd and go to Charles City.”
Come spring, there could be prairie grass sprouting up and several trees beautifying the area and helping with erosion control.
“We’ve had heavy rainfalls after this was set. It’s already withstood some of that with some slight erosion down the middle,” said Floyd County Conservation Director Adam Sears. “I was actually looking forward to this receding today. It’s been tested now and it’s looking like it’s holding up and it’s going to do what we wanted it to.”
Tons of gravel and riprap were hauled in to strengthen the shoreline. The access point was cut down to a 2-1 slope. There’s also a hackberry tree near the start of the path to the river that overlooks the water. The tree was trimmed and kept after landscaping and excavating were done.
“It’s a lot more attractive for people to come down here,” said Sears.
Prior to construction of the boat ramp and entrance point, canoeists or kayakers had to climb in or out of the river about 50 yards west of where the concrete slab now slants at an angle into the water.
Sears said the position is the deepest point for launching boats that they had, and a decision to wind the path down the hill instead of going straight in makes it easier to get in position.
Talk of having an easier way to get into the river just north of Floyd had been bantered about for awhile, according to Floyd City Council member Cleone King, who helped spearhead the project.
“It was probably a good year that we talked about it,” she said.
The area is within the Iowa Department of Transportation right of way. Work started quickly once Floyd County was granted permission from the state to build the entrance ramp.
“We were shooting to get it done before this fall and we nailed it right on the head with our date,” said Sears.
King helped write some of the grants and raise a good portion of the money. The initial goal was to raise $14,000. The project’s bid for work came in at $17,500, according to Sears. The work was done by 2 Men and a Hoe Excavating out of Charles City.
King and the Floyd City Council obtained a $4,000 grant from the Floyd County Community Foundation. Area banks like First Security, CUSB and First Citizens made donations or provided grant money, and many other businesses and individuals also helped with the cause.
Sears said donations are still being accepted to help seed the area with prairie grass and plant trees, and for the final phase of the project which will to put up signage to direct people to the access point.
The Floyd Bridge boat ramp 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 river is a trail that’s already here. We just need to connect people and get on that trail,” said Sears.
He said another goal of Floyd County Conservation is to build a similar hard ramp entrance point on the river downstream at Rotary Park in Charles City. Upstream from the Floyd Bridge is a hard ramp already constructed at Idlewild along the river.
Sears and his department maintain and oversee five access points on the Cedar River in Floyd County, at 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. Contribution can be sent to the City of Floyd, Box 159, Floyd IA 50435.
Anyone willing to donate materials or labor should call King at 641-220-0246, or Sears, Floyd County Conservation, at 641-756-3490.