Bicyclers, birds, burgers and a barge will combine together on Saturday, June 22, to provide a unique recreational opportunity in Dubuque County, Iowa. The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge (Refuge) and the Dubuque County Conservation Board (DCCB) have joined forces to offer a day of biking and boating.
The event will be open to the first 30 registered participants who can bike or drive to the Little Maquoketa River Delta parking lot, arriving at 10:30 a.m. The parking lot is located on Peru Road, just off of Riverside Road, east of John Deere Dubuque Works. From there participants will bike and bird along the recently graveled 2.5 mile trail located there. This short trail offers some of the best bird watching opportunities along the Mississippi River. The combination of cattail wetland marsh, mud flats, and bottomland forest provide habitat for a wide range of bird species. The point jetty trail spur brings visitors within yards of boats and barges traveling up and down the Mississippi River. Rangers from DCCB and Refuge staff will be located along the trail to help with bird identification and any questions.
At 11:00 a.m. participants’ bikes will be loaded and transported approximately three miles upriver to Mud Lake Park. Bikers will board the Refuge’s 30 foot barge boat for a tour of the Refuge that will last approximately two hours. Refuge staff will share information about river history and the many natural resources found there. Please bring a sack lunch to eat on board. The tour will end at Mud Lake Park.
Participants can then peddle the four miles back to the Little Maquoketa River Delta parking area or be transported back to the site. DCCB Rangers will provide escort protection for returning bikers en route to the parking lot.
To register for this free event please call Dubuque County Conservation Board (563)-556-6745. We will need to know approximate life jacket size (S, M, L, XL, or kids) for the boat ride. Participants will also need to provide a contact phone number in case weather causes a change in plans.
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A year round resident on the refuge however numbers soar during the winter. Look below locks and dams where the river is not frozen. Aerial displays and pair bonding are best viewed from January through March. In winter, over 1,000 bald eagles grab fish,ducks or coots in the open water.