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ICON Water Trails Progress and Future

ICON Water Trails

January 8, 2024

A while ago I had the opportunity to sit down with Hannah Inman, CEO of the Great Outdoors Foundation, the organization leading the Iowa Confluence (ICON) Water Trails project, and Afton Holt, President of Corner Post, the marketing organization working with the Great Outdoors Foundation, about how this game-changing project will support the Greater Des Moines (DSM) region. A project The Partnership has continued to elevate as a state and federal policy priority, the conversation was an opportunity to get an update and understand what the future of ICON looks like.

ICON Water Trails in the Future

Following the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Greenways and Waterways Engineering study — which involved 17 different jurisdictions — more than 150 waterways and over 80 access points were identified for development and what might be possible in terms collaboration in DSM.

When it comes to policy surrounding the ICON Water Trails, an important piece of the project is streamlining the process and looking for opportunities to help and support different stakeholders. This collaboration doesn’t just include landowners and farmers. It includes agricultural retail and those providing fertilizer, crop products and seed to farmers. ICON can’t exist without healthy soil and water quality practices happening upstream so listening to all these voices has been essential for Inman and Holt as they navigate the water trails project and will make all the difference in its success across the region. Can DSM be both an agricultural leader of the world and an innovative leader on water quality? There is no reason the region can’t be a leader in both.

Recreationally, the ICON Water Trails success will come from communities, including the business community continuing to get behind the project. Outdoor recreation makes a big difference in attracting and retaining both global and local talent, and the water trails can help further this goal for local employers, including manufacturing businesses like Cargill and John Deere.

To read past blogs on the ICON Water Trails, see the titles below:

The DSM USA Policy Headquarters podcast focuses on public policy topics impacting business and the relationship between government and the private sector. Join us each month to hear from local Greater Des Moines (DSM) experts.


The DSM USA Policy HQ podcast focuses on public policy topics impacting business and the relationship between government and the private sector.