Several months ago, the City of Manning reached out to the National Park Service (NPS) to initiate the formation of a group to explore the possibility of regional trail systems in the underserved parts of Carroll, Crawford, Audubon and Shelby Counties. On Monday, Oct. 3, the NPS announced they would be awarding technical assistance through the Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) program to the city for regional trail planning in 2017. Brian Leaders, with the NPS, will facilitate regional trail group meetings as well as solicit public input to work toward a plan. The goal is to connect Manning to other local communities, and then eventually to the Des Moines metro system, the Raccoon River Valley Trail and the Pottawattamie County system as their trails are completed. The long-range vision is to have trails from the Des Moines metro to Omaha/Council Bluffs with spurs to meet existing local trails. So far, the group consists of: the cities of Manning and Coon Rapids; the Manilla Economic Development Group; Shelby County Trails,; Frontier Iowa Trails; Crawford County Economic Development; Carroll County Conservation; the American Discovery Trail; Bolton and Menk Engineering; Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation; and the National Park Service. Groups or individuals wanting more information or who are interested in helping with this plan can contact Manning City Administrator, Dawn Rohe, through the contact points included with this story on our website.