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Rock River Trail Initiative picks up speed

STERLING – The momentum behind the Rock River Trail Initiative continues to grow.

The group wants to create a trail along the 300-mile river and a separate Rock River Route on roads within the river corridor. It wants to help people gain access to “all to the natural resources, recreational opportunities, scenic beauty and historic and cultural assets of the Rock River Valley,” the group says on its website.

Dave Druen, a coordinator of the initiative, came to visit Wednesday with news of a recent development.

He said he is working on creating a special committee called the River Action Group, that will be made up of representatives from Dixon, Sterling and Rock Falls.

It will focus on promoting the stretch of the river that runs through those cities.

He also had an article on a new initiative by Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar to create a National Water Trails System. The network will "increase access to water-based outdoor recreation, encourage community stewardship of local waterways and promote tourism that fuels local economies across America," according to the Environment News Service.

This national effort can only help local organizers who want to establish a trail along the Rock River.

All of the initiatives are intertwined. As the efforts of the River Action Group build, so will the success of the Rock River Trail Initiative. And as the RRTI continues to promote its message, the chances of gaining grant money does, too.

The stronger the trail initiative is, the more likely it will be to gain recognition as a National Water Trail System.

For Druen, this is welcome news. He is a passionate advocate for seizing the opportunity the Rock River and the Hennepin Canal present locally. He envisions a place where people can walk, hike, bike and boat, without having to go farther than their home towns.

He always is looking for public input and participation to make the vision for the river a reality.

To get involved or to find out more, visit rockrivertrail.com.

Sauk Valley Media reporter Kiran Sood covers government and happenings in Sterling and Rock Falls. She can be reached at ksood@saukvalley.com or at 800-798-4085, ext. 529.


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