LAKE MACBRIDE– There’s a new look along Lake Macbride’s North Shore Trail. A dozen interpretative signs are now installed along the 5-mile trail from Solon to the main entrance of Lake Macbride State Park. Those full color signs, with illustrations, cover the lake’s history, the change in the landscape over the last 150 years, water flora and fauna, woodland– and water– birds, as well as the “Connect It” panel, which depicts the food webs dependent on the lake and adjacent environment.
Volunteers were instrumental in all phases of the project; from writing grants to setting the sturdy signs in place; investing 200 hours of their time. “We were only able to install three signs… before funding dried up (several years ago),” explained Lake Macbride State Park Manager Ron Puettmann. That’s when volunteers applied for– and received– an $8,500 grant from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, tied with $2,500 in local donations to continue the project “With this grant opportunity and volunteer help, we were able to make some very nice interpretive improvements to a tremendously popular trail,” noted Puettmann, stressing the demand for volunteers remains high at Macbride.
The North Shore Trail is heavily used year round by hikers, joggers, bicyclists, cross country skiers and snowmobilers. They now can utilize the panels to identify or understand everything from how the land use has changed to furry creatures they will see through the year, as well as butterflies, shorebirds and even the trees and other vegetation they will encounter.