MADRID, Iowa — Iowa’s High Trestle Trail Bridge is iconic. “This is one of Iowa’s biggest tourist attractions right now,” said Tanner Scheuermann, Boone County Conservation Board Executive Director.
It has a reputation that glows across the globe. “We’ve had people from Australia, we’ve had people from India here, we’ve had people from New Zealand,” said Wesly Mathes, who lives near the trail.
Beginning September 25th, the Boone County Conservation Board is slapping a new curfew on the bridge lights. Scheuermann said, “We will turn the lights back to 10:30 pm rather than there 12 o’clock scheduled time.”
The change is triggered in part because of vandalism and loud noise on the trail near residential areas. Mathes said, “People just screaming at the top of their lungs. You come running out to see if there is something wrong and they say they were just trying to hear how loud they could be.”
Wesly Mathes lives nearby on QF Lane and says residents weren’t trying to get the lights turned off they were just concerned about a proposed campground being designed near the trail. “We were just pointing out that it was noisy and you couldn’t curtail that and we don’t want the campground because you can’t curtail that either.”
Scheuermann says the change is not permanent. “The theory behind that was we could get people off of the road from 10:30 pm to midnight. They aren’t out there cruising up the road parking in the parking lot being loud having parties and things like that.”
Hours may go back to normal next season thanks to a new approach. “We are putting one of our rangers through law enforcement training here in January that way we can have more of a presence down here.”
Many trail users, like Dave Miller from Grimes, are hoping the board can quickly back pedal their decision and let the light shine down. “You don’t want a venue like this that’s held hostage by people that are making others feel uncomfortable.”
In early November, as always, the lights will continue to turn off at 9 pm. The Boone County Conservation Board plans to hold a public forum on this issue before their scheduled October 9th board meeting. A date has not been set at this time.