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Mount Trashmore trails, overlook to open Thursday

Executive director of the Cedar Rapids Linn County Solid Waste Agency Karmin McShane explains the trail system at the Mount Trashmore Trails and Overlook in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, August 30, 2018. A grand opening ceremony will be held for the former land fill at 1 p.m. on Thursday, September 6th. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Executive director of the Cedar Rapids Linn County Solid Waste Agency Karmin McShane explains the trail system at the Mount Trashmore Trails and Overlook in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, August 30, 2018. A grand opening ceremony will be held for the former land fill at 1 p.m. on Thursday, September 6th. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Winding down the new “flow” trail on Mount Trashmore, the path twists and turns, dips and rises, making for an exhilarating bike ride — the fatter the tires the better.

The Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency is preparing to open the new trail system built onto the old landfill and unveil an overlook pavilion offering panoramic views of the downtown Cedar Rapids skyline Thursday.

“It’s an awesome view,” said Karmin McShane, executive director of the agency.

The agency gave The Gazette a sneak peek and chance to try out the trails last week in advance of a grand opening at Mount Trashmore, 2250 A St. SW.

A ribbon-cutting will occur at 1 p.m. Thursday at the pillars at the bottom of the hill.

People can plan to walk or bike to the top, and parking will be available in a gravel lot near the entrance to the trails.

Three trails start at the bottom of Mount Trashmore near the scale house.

The flow trail called the Trashmore Trail is a downhill-only path that’s about 4,000 feet long. With sharp turns, a steep decline and numerous bunny hills, a mountain bike would be recommended.

The Overlook Trail is a 3,400-foot-long multiuse trail for bikes and walkers and goes in both directions. This is an old gravel road and also would serve as the route for vehicles for special events or for those with mobility challenges. Typically, no vehicles will be allowed.

The 5,000-foot-long Stumptown Trail is a narrow path strictly for hikers and walkers — no bikes — and goes both directions. It follows the baseline about half way around Mount Trashmore before making its way up the hill with switchbacks.

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Trails end at the pavilion near the peak of Mount Trashmore, which is 948 feet.

The new features still are considered to be in the testing phase. Users will need to sign in before using the trails. And, they are subject to closure at any time, typically based on inclement weather.

“This still is a regulated landfill,” said Joe Horaney, a spokesman for the agency. “We want to take it slow.”

McShane warned that people must stay on the trails.

“We want people to know there’s a risk,” McShane added. “This is not a traditional park. We want people to be safe and follow the rules and enjoy the great opportunity.”

The trails generally will be open during landfill hours, but a trail coordinator has been hired to staff the site. The agency may allow additional availability, such as an evening and/or weekend afternoon. The staff position was required as part of allowing trails on the landfill.

The trails are “applied” and not dug because of Mount Trashmore being a landfill. The agency is hoping the trails hold up but still is waiting to see how they respond when numerous people and bikers begin using them.

Ken Barker, of Backyard Trails, was hired to do trail maintenance before the opening. Trail maintenance is expected to be a regular need.

“It will hold up pretty well, I think,” Barker said.

The budget was $590,000 for the overlook, with four levels of terraced seating, a curved retaining wall, a stone walkway, posts and markers, and demolition of the old scale house. McGill Trail Fabrication, a bike trail specialist from Silverthorne, Colo., was hired for $145,920 to build the trails.

l Comments: (319) 398-8310; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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