MASON CITY — A ribbon cutting and dedication for A new Mason City Kayak-Canoe-Fishing Park that will vastly improve navigation and fishing will be 1 p.m. Thursday, July 7.
The event will take place at the site on the Winnebago River just south of the 12th St. NE bridge. The facility adds to Mason City’s growing reputation as a destination for hiking, kayaking and fishing.
It also builds on the city’s plans to showcase rivers and streams. It features two portage ramps, a paved trail connecting to existing pedestrian and bike trails and a parking area. A so called “fish ladder” will provide a detour route for better fish migration.
Outdoor recreation is a huge contributor to North Iowa’s economy, helping generate more than $100 million in tourism spending annually. Studies also show that expanded outdoor recreation reduces health care cost by increasing physical activity of residents.
This is Mason City’s second dam improvement project on the Winnebago. A third project on a dam located in East Park will be this fall.
Other trail improvements projects in the planning stages or underway are the downtown River Walk, the High Line Trail on an abandoned north-south railroad right of way, and mountain biking trails near the Lime Creek Nature Center.
The Winnebago is a 72 mile river in in Northern Iowa with tributaries that begin in Minnesota and flow to the Mississippi. The new facility adds Iowa’s 900 miles of existing water trails.