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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Black Hawk Lake Summer Water Carnival

The 56th Annual Black Hawk Lake Summer Water Carnival begins Friday, July 17th and runs through Sunday, July 19th. The weekend is packed with events for the entire family, many revolving around the waters of Black Hawk Lake. What started in 1952 as a small carnival with dances and boat races has grown into an annual tradition that attracts 20,000 + visitors to the shores of Black Hawk Lake.

For the 2009 Water Carnival - the Kiddie Parade will be held on the sidewalk between the Stone Piers on Friday night. The Kiddie Parade will begin at 7:00 p.m. Following the Kiddie Parade, a local talent show will take place on the stage near the west Stone Pier. The McDermott Midway and the local food stands will open at 6:30 p.m. Friday evening.

Saturday is a big day! Events for the day are the Lion's Club Waffle Feed, the Big Street Parade, a pedal tractor pull, and the Bill Riley Talent show.

The headlining event of the Water Carnival is the Parade of Water Floats held on the waters of Black Hawk Lake at dusk on Saturday. Boats pull decorated pontoons that are lit by using generator power. This awe-inspiring parade on the water draws tens of thousands of spectators each year. The fun-filled weekend concludes with a beautiful fireworks display after dark on Sunday over the waters of Black Hawk Lake.

On both Saturday and Sunday, craft vendors will be displaying at "Art in the Park." Also, midway rides by McDermott Shows, the Black Hawk Men's Club Beer Garden, and local food and entertainment stands will begin on Friday evening and run all weekend long.
On Sunday, visitors will be treated to a wide variety of entertainment, including the annual Little Miss Black Hawk Pageant. The Little Miss Black Hawk pageant has been held each year since 1970.

As always, there is no admission charge to enjoy the entertainment at the Black Hawk Lake Summer Water Carnival!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Heading to RAGBRAI ? Discover State Parks Along The Way!

Only one week left until the launch of RAGBRAI XXXVII beginning in Council Bluffs July 19, 2009. The July 12 edition of the Des Moines Register features "Gems Along the Ride"- that highlights many excellent hidden treasures on or near this year's route.

In addition the RAGBRAI XXXVII Route presents numerous opportunities for riders and their crews to get acquainted with a few of Iowa's beautiful state parks along the way.

For those traveling along I-29 from the north - you will want to stop by Stone State Park and the Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center in Sioux City. The center features a variety of interpretive displays, including a "walk-under" prairie, a 400-gallon aquarium of native fish, and natural history dioramas. A children's discovery area provides opportunity to handle furs, antlers, fossils, and other artifacts.

A little farther south, you will find the Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa. While visiting Lewis and Clark, please take the opportunity to view the full-sized reproduction of Lewis and Clark's keelboat/barge, "Best Friend," which was constructed by Butch Bouvier of L&C Replicas. Imagine, if you can, the expedition winding its way up the Missouri River while sailing, pulling and poling the 55-foot boat.

Lewis and Clark State Park lies on the shores of Blue Lake, an "oxbow" formed by the meanderings of the picturesque Missouri River many years ago. The park is named for Meriwether Lewis, secretary to President Thomas Jefferson, and Captain William Clark, United States Army, who were commissioned by President Jefferson in 1804 to head an expedition into the northwest to explore the vast territory purchased from France. With 26 men and supplies, Lewis and Clark led their expedition up the Missouri River from St. Louis by keelboat.

On August 10, 1804, the expedition arrived at the site where Lewis and Clark State Park now lies. They spent some time there exploring the region and making observations on the geographical conditions, plants and animals in the area.

You will also find Wilson Island State Park and its visitor's center about 25 miles north of Council Bluffs. This is a great space for a break from the road - refreshments and a picnic. Immediately north of Wilson Island is the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is open to the public one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset year round. The DeSoto Visitor Center, open year-round 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., displays artifacts of the sunken steamboat Bertrand and audio-visual programs depicting Missouri River and wildlife conservation history. The Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area is located 25 miles south of the park.

If you are coming up from the South, you will want to stop by Waubonsie State Park the first Iowa stop on the Lewis and Clark Historic Trail and just north of the Missouri border. The unique topography of the park resembles the "badlands" of the west and harbors plants like the yucca which are normally found in more arid climates. Named for Chief Waubonsie of the Native American Pottawattamie tribe, the park is much the same today as it was when it was purchased in 1926.

Those traveling from the east along I-80 will want to stop and take a break at Lake Anita State Park just five miles south of the Anita interchange. Lake Anita was dedicated in 1961and is one of the most popular outdoor recreation facilities in southwest Iowa. The 1,062-acre park features a beautiful 171-acre artificial lake which was formed by creating a dam on a branch of the Nishnabotna River.

Another great stop along I-80 Prairie Rose State Park which provides a number of beautiful picnic areas with excellent views of a 218-acre lake. Prairie Rose State Park is one of the most attractive outdoor recreation areas in western Iowa. The 422-acre park lies in a region of scenic hills, six miles east and three miles south of Harlan. The park received its name from a small town called Village of Prairie Rose which was once located near the present park location. Plans for Prairie Rose were initiated in the 1930s. However, actual construction of the dam started in 1958 with the park dedication taking place in 1962.

Saturday July, 18, 2009 - Council Bluffs
No visit to Council Bluffs would be complete without a visit to
Lake Manawa State Park. Riders looking for a quick 'warm up' ride on Saturday should jump on the Council Bluffs trail system which will link you to a paved bike trail within the park, the Western Historic Trails Center and the Wabash Trace Trail. A great way to start off your RAGBRAI experience.

'Breathing Spaces' is the Official Blog of the Iowa Parks Foundation

Monday, July 6, 2009

Big Creek State Park....a 2009 PDGA National Tour Event Host

The Des Moines First Class Challenge - a 2009 PDGA National Tour Event

Andrew Irwin - IPF Intern

The 2009 First Class Challenge...a Professional Disc Golfers Association National Tour Event...presented by the Des Moines Disc Golf Club , First Class Credit Union and several other sponsors including RDG Planning and Design. Big Creek State Park's disc golf course will be one of the five Des Moines disc golf courses selected for the PDGA National Tour Event.

The National Tour Event event is scheduled for the weekend of July 17th through the 19th of this year.
In addition to the tournament, there will be a free clinic featuring five of the touring professionals. The clinic is open to all skill levels and you don't even need to be in the tourney to participate. This is an opportunity to learn from some of the sports' best competetors including Jay Reading, Ken Climo, Matt Orum, Cale Leiviska and George Smith.
The free clinic will be on Thursday evening July 16 at Walnut Ridge Recreation Area between 6:00 and 8:00.
Disc golf is played much like traditional golf. Instead of a ball and clubs, however, players use a flying disc, or Frisbee. The sport was formalized in the 1970's, and shares with golf, the object of completing each hole in the fewest number of strokes, or in the case of disc golf, fewest number of throws per hole.
A golf disc is thrown from a tee area to a target which is the hole. the hole can be one of a number of disc golf targets; the most common is called a Pole Hole an elevated metal basket. As a player progresses down the fairway, he or she must make each consecutive shot from the spot where the previous throw has landed. The trees, shrubs, and terrain changes located in and around the fairways provide challenging obstacles for the golfer. Finally, the ‘putt’ lands in the basket and the hole is completed.
Disc golf shares all the same joys and frustrations of traditional golf, whether it's sinking a long putt or hitting a tree halfway down the fairway.

Disc golf is designed to be enjoyed by people of all ages, males and females included. Disc golf can be played from school age to old age, making it the one of the greatest lifetime fitness sports available. Because disc golf is so easy to learn, no one is excluded. Players merely match their pace to their capabilities and proceed from there.
Disc golf courses can coexist with existing park facilities and activity areas. The ideal location combines wooded and open terrains, and a variety of topographical change. Many city parks have golf courses already set up. Most are free to play as often as you like. Disc golfers who do not have the benefit of a permanent disc golf facility in their area often "make up" courses in nearby parks and green spaces. There are currently 144 total disc golf courses located within Iowa's State, County, and City Parks.
Click here to find a disc golf course near you.
The need for more courses is constant, as the sport continues to grow in popularity. The PDGA has created resources for the design and installation of new golf courses, to ensure their success in the community. The Professional Disc Golf Association, with a member base of over 39,700, is the governing body for the sport and sanctions competitive events for men and women. Click here for information about disc golf and the Professional Disc Golfer’s Association.