Jurisdiction: Black Hawk County (ramp and parking), City of Gilbertville (grounds)
Access number: 151
Launch type: Boat ramp
Next segment skill level: Beginner
Next segment classification: Recreational
Distance to next access: 2.1 miles
Gilbertville Park is a river access area in the southwest end of the City of Gilbertville. The boat ramp and parking area are managed by the Black Hawk County Conservation board, and the grounds are managed by the City. The river access is adjacent to a residential neighborhood to the north and more public lands to the south. A small pedestrian bridge connects the river access to the public lands to the south, which include a shelter, basketball court, ball diamonds, a yard waste dropoff site, and the Veterans Park memorial area.
Despite being situated next to a residential neighborhood, the river access sits at a much lower elevation which makes construction of a pedestrian trail to the neighborhood cost-prohbitive. The only way to reach the river access area and adjacent public lands is from Gilbertville Road. Gilbertville Road has no sidewalks, and it is curved which reduces visibility for automobile traffic. The river access is easy to miss for drivers unfamiliar with the area. Signage to the river access would be greatly beneficial for boaters and other water trail users.
One written comment was received regarding Gilbertville Park:
- “[Add] kayak docks, signage. Especially in Gilbertville. The area is hidden and hard to find.” – Evansdale resident
In addition, three respondents indicated they would like fresh water, and two indicated they would like restrooms at Gilbertville Park.
Recommendations for Gilbertville Park involve a dramatic reconfiguration of the existing gravel parking area. This includes the installation of a new ramp for paddlers north of the existing boat ramp to separate paddlers and motorized boat traffic. Three parking islands containing pollinator plantings and a bike rack are also recommended. Existing trees should be preserved to help define the southernmost parking island.
This space allows for the installation of a 10,000 square foot filter strip between the parking area and the river. Wooden bollards or rock barriers can be added around the parking area to limit the impact of motorized vehicles and to allow for drainage within the park. A tie-down lane for motorized boats, a staging area for paddlers, and a staging area for an accessible parking space are also recommended.