Many hands make for Little Maquoketa River Mounds work
Wed, Sep. 1, 2010 - [Cross Country]

The Loras College men's and women's cross country teams took some time last week to repair one of the most majestic natural areas Dubuque County has to offer when they spent nearly a full work day at the Little Maquoketa River Mounds Preserve just north of the Dubuque city limits.

Following some of the devastating flooding in eastern Iowa late this summer, head coach Bob Schultz contacted the Dubuque County Conservation Board to see if there was anything his teams could do to improve or repair the popular Heritage Trail.

"I called the (Dubuque County) Conservation Board and asked if we could help…and they said that it was probably too big of a job - but that they had something else we could help with," Schultz said last week.

"We happily accepted the Little Maquoketa work."

Purchased in 1980 by the Iowa D.O.T., the "41-acre preserve features 32 ancient burial mounds" according to dubuquecounty.org . A total of 45 Duhawks, including student-athletes and coaches, worked to repair and restore the main stretch of trail leading to the historic burial mounds which overlook the Little Maquoketa River.

"Without groups like that, there's just no way for our staff to get that done," Tim Smith of the Dubuque County Conservation Board added. "That type of work could take us up to a year to do on our own. There's a reason those (supplies) were lifted in by helicopter 25 years ago."

"The group moved a total of 30 railroad ties and 24,000 pounds of lime for base material in the stairs up one of the steepest hills there," Smith noted. "They used an old-fashioned bucket brigade - it isn't accessible with any of our equipment."

"They worked for nearly eight hours and nothing about it was easy. They were an incredible group of guys and gals and they put in a full day's work. Conservation is a cooperative effort…groups like (the Loras Cross Country teams) and our organization showed that last week," Smith stressed. 

"I was proud to hear them say they wanted to finish the work as it got dark and we were ready to wrap it up," Schultz noted. "We spent nearly a full day there and they said ‘we're almost done, can't we just finish it?'."

The 2010 Loras College Cross Country season begins on September 3 at the Elmhurst College Early Bird Invitational in Elmhurst, Illinois.