Grant to help Prairie du Chien unclog its parks
The mighty Mississippi is the dividing line between the city of Prairie du Chien and Iowa.
That region is home to a wealth of national and state park systems, and people are drawn to its natural beauty.
This is a good thing. But it’s also turned into a double-edged sword that national park systems are experiencing throughout the country.
The main issue: too many cars. The result is traffic jams affect the overall experience of the visitors, and lead to stress on the natural resources that attract vacationers in the first place.
This is why Prairie du Chien is taking advantage of a five-year-old federal grant program to investigate the feasibility of a trolley bus service to connect the nearby public lands encompassing Wisconsin and Iowa, thereby reducing the number of cars clogging the parks.
They applied for and received a $55,000 grant through the Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks Program. The program is administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation, together with the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Forest Service in an effort to promote alternate forms of transportation within parks, forests and other public lands. Many national parks and public lands have already begun to address these problems by implementing alternative transportation systems.
The grant will help to connect Effigy Mounds National Monument (Iowa), the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge, Pikes Peak State Park (Iowa), Wyalusing State Park (Wisconsin), and the surrounding gateway communities of Marquette, Iowa; McGregor, Iowa; and Prairie du Chien, Wis.
Like all Americans, I like the independence that driving a car affords. But I also feel strongly about the need for alternative forms of transportation for urban, rural and recreational use.
So, kudos to Prairie du Chien and Effigy Mounds National Monument for seeing the need to address this issue and going after the grant.
Ann Knoedler is the lead data reporter at The Daily Reporter. She’d take a trolley to work if she could.