Grants to pay for upgrades at Lizard Creek access site

The spot on the northwestern side of Fort Dodge where people can launch their kayaks and canoes into Lizard Creek will get some improvements next year thanks to $70,000 worth of state grants.

The grant awards to the city of Fort Dodge and Webster County Conservation were announced Thursday.

The Lizard Creek Access at Phinney Park already has a small paved parking area, a loop of gravel road that connects the parking lot to the creek and some benches.

The grant money will help pay for adding:

• A restroom;

• An open shelter;

• A bike repair station;

• Signs directing people to nearby mountain bike trails.

There are some mountain bike trails in the wooded area between Lizard Creek and the Fort Dodge Country Club. There are no signs directing people to them. Bicyclists apparently find out about the trails by talking to each other and using social media.

Two grants have been awarded to pay for the new features. One of those grants is a $50,000 award from the state’s Resource Enhancement and Protection program commonly called REAP.

The other grant is a $20,000 Water Trail Enhancement Grant that comes from the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund.

Since 2009, the city and county governments, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, local kayakers and private landowners have worked to desiginate 14 miles of Lizard Creek and 46 miles of the Des Moines River as state water trails.