Posted: September 7, 2021

Written by: Lilly Jensen, Education and Outreach Coordinator

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Winneshiek County Conservation Receives Wellmark MATCH Grant, Launches Fundraising Campaign

The Winneshiek County Conservation Board is one of 29 Iowa organizations to receive a Matching Assets to Community Health (MATCH) grant from the Wellmark Foundation in support of the on-going development of the Dry Run Trail.

The $25,000 grant will be used toward the construction of a walking and biking bridge over Dry Run Creek along the Dry Run Trail route. The bridge will be located less than a half-mile west of the Highway 52 and Highway 9 intersection and is the second construction project of the Dry Run Trail, following the completion of the box culvert under Highway 52.

The Dry Run Trail will eventually connect Decorah’s Trout Run Trail with the Prairie Farmer Recreational Trail that runs from Calmar to Cresco, creating more than 40 miles of interconnected, paved recreational trails across Winneshiek County. The Dry Run Trail will also pass through the Dry Run Greenbelt, more than 100 acres of public land that include hardwood forests, oak savannas, and prairie remnants that harbor at least 284 species of plants and animals, as well as hidden springs and limestone outcroppings.


Local Match Needed

As with all Wellmark Foundation MATCH grants, receiving funds is contingent on applicants raising 50% of the award amount—$12,500 in this case—in local support in the form of cash donations or in-kind services or donations.

“We are excited to receive this matching grant to kick off a fundraising campaign for this phase of the Dry Run Trail project,” says Barbara Schroeder, executive director of Winneshiek County Conservation. “Matching grants like this are a great way to double the impact of local contributions and support.”

Matching funds must be secured by applicant organizations by November 3, 2021 in order for MATCH funds to be released.

Contributions to the MATCH campaign can be made in one of several tax-deductible ways. Checks can be sent to the Winneshiek Conservation Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization, at PO Box 265, Calmar, Iowa 52132. Online contributions can be made through a fund established at the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa. More information is available at or by calling (563) 534-7145.


Trail Progress

In addition to the walking and biking bridge, development and planning for the overall Dry Run Trail continues as Winneshiek County Conservation acquires right-of-way easements and applies for and secures additional grant funding for the numerous culverts and bridges needed for the first phases of the Dry Run Trail.

“There’s a lot that has to happen before any segment of trail can be opened,” says Schroeder.

Construction of the walking and biking bridge supported by this MATCH grant should begin in the spring of 2022, if local fundraising allows.


About MATCH Grants

MATCH grants from the Wellmark Foundation are awarded to projects that help individuals, families and communities achieve better health through built environment initiatives that encourage physical activity or access to nutritious foods. In total The Wellmark Foundation is investing $674,664 into Iowa communities through the 2021 Small MATCH grant program.