Mines of Spain Recreation Area

Iowa State Trail Explorer Volunteer Program

The Iowa State Trail Explorer Volunteer Program is an ‘adopt-a-trail’ program developed to help support Iowa DNR staff in keeping the trails maintained, safe and friendly. In addition to the traditional ‘adopt-a-trail’ approach (i.e., trail maintenance), volunteers will act as park ambassadors in order to deepen the connection between the Mines of Spain and its trail users. The trail system is split into several segments, for which teams of 3-4 volunteers will be responsible for. Volunteers will receive training and an item to identify that they are a DNR volunteer.

Volunteer applications are Available here


Be a friendly trail steward
Hike/paddle designated trails on a routine basis
Communicate to park staff any hazards (e.g., downed trees, broken boards on
bridges or steps, downed or missing signs)
Pick up trash along trail and dispose of properly (recycling when possible)
Perform minor trail maintenance in accordance to park policies (e.g., cut back
Assist with control of invasive species
Provide information to trail users as requested
Report volunteer hours to park staff
Provide feedback to park staff on trail issues and any problem with park users2

1. Volunteers may be asked to help coordinate and/or assist with
larger trail maintenance projects
2. Volunteers are not to assume any law enforcement roles

Elli Slouha, Park Manager
Jason Gilmore, Park Ranger
Park Office: 8991 Bellevue Heights Rd
Dubuque, IA 52003
(563) 556-0620

5/19/2019 – Our First Volunteer Meeting Notes (23 in attendance):


  • Welcome and Introductions: Jason & Elli
  • Presentation: State Parks Trails Ambassadors2019

o    Trail maintenance:

  • Take photos of damage
  • Erosion
  • Water bars
  • Rock
  • Keeping things off trail
  • Nettles/poison ivy
  • Downed trees
  • Add pins via googlemaps
  • Touch and hold – adds pin
  • “Share Pin” – email or text

o    Promoting trails

  • Each volunteer will get a vest from DNR
  • Chat up people you come across
  • Carry trail maps to hand out
  • Educate on good trail stewardship
  • If issues arise, contact DNR staff – do not take things into your own hands

o    Help keep park clean

  • Equipment such as bags and grabbers will be provided by DNR

o    Have ideas?  Let staff know!

o    Have fun!

  • Share your photos…. (tag #iowadnr, #minesofspain)
  • Share your stories…

o    Please log your volunteer time

  • Form via google drive
  • Clipboard in shed(?)

o    Tools & Equipment

  • DNR is moving a shed to behind EB Lyons for equipment. Volunteers will have access.
  • Loppers for snipping things that our overhanging into the trailway
  • Shovels for fixing trails (e.g., installing water bars)
  • Chainsaws?
  • At the moment, a “no”… but hopefully DNR will offer training (required for anyone using power equipment in the park)
  • Weedeaters?
  • OK… use proper PPE(personal protective equipment)

o    Trail projects 2019

  • 3 June, 2019- Horseshoe Bluff staircase board replacement
  • Horseshoe wetland – removal and installation of new docks
  • Julien Dubuque trail – replacement of wood railing
  • Calcite trail – water bars
  • Cattesse – water crossing
  • Pine Chapel/Lead Mine trail – brush removal


  • Questions

o    Tree across trail too large to move by hand… drop a pin?

  • Yes.

o    Tracking volunteer time for trail runners… specific to maintenance?

  • Yes – use your best judgement.  If running several times per week, please put at least 1 to 2 hours for that week – even if you don’t do any maintenance – you are still out looking.

o    Drawstring bags available from DNR?

  • Yes.
  • Drop garbage off at Horseshoe Bluff (can near parking lot), Picnic area… Just leave in a parking lot with your bag.  Pin it on googlemaps.

o    If you come across someone littering, do you say anything?

  • Probably not… but get a description (license plate number) if possible and pass on to DNR staff.

o    Vandalism… please keep an eye out – take photos.

  • If you see anyone, please get a description.

o    Will you send out an email when large tree on Catfish is finally cut down so that we may come out and honor it?

  • Yes, but plan on keeping it and working trail around it

o    What is the term for trail segments/teams?

  • DNR is wanting teams to work on their trail segment for a year.  Planning on having a volunteer appreciate event in spring where new trails and segments will be designated.