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University of Iowa News Release


Dec. 28, 2007

Touch the Earth Center grooming local cross-country ski trails

The University of Iowa's Touch the Earth Outdoor Rental and Resource Center will be open during the university's winter interim session, and with sufficient snowfall, staff will be grooming three local trails for both classic and skate-style cross-country skiing.

Trails being groomed include the university's Ashton Cross-Country Running Course (located near the tennis complex on Prairie Meadow Drive, off Mormon Trek Boulevard), the Macbride Nature Recreation Area (15 miles north of Iowa City on Mehaffey Bridge Road), and the Coralville-Clear Creek bike trail (starting at the Ashton course and ending at the Coral Ridge Mall).

The center rents a variety of winter recreational equipment, including snowshoes, toboggans, and cross-country ski equipment. Located in the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex at Prairie Meadow Drive in Iowa City, the center also has four-season tents and sleeping bag rentals for anyone interested in pursuing a winter camping adventure. For rates, see

Through April 10, the center's regular hours will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday and Friday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. In the event of snow, hours are expanded as follows: 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays, and noon to 7 p.m. on Sundays. On Monday, Dec. 31, hours are 9 a.m. to noon. The center will be closed on Wednesday, Jan. 1, unless there is snow, and then hours will be 4 to 7 p.m. Call 319-384-1225 to verify hours and trail conditions. Rentals also can be obtained at other times by appointment. Contact David Patton at to make arrangements.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: David Patton, Recreational Services, 319-384-1225,; George McCrory, University News Services, 319-384-0012,