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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Des Moines River Water Trail Campsite Dedication

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will designate a water trail campsite on the Des Moines River Water Trail at Yellow Banks County Park on October 2.

The Des Moines River in Polk County was designated as a state water trail earlier this spring, but the idea of a paddle-in/paddle-out campsite came as an addendum.

“It became apparent to us that there was a lack of suitable camping opportunities for paddlers along the Des Moines River between Saylorville and Red Rock,” said Loren Lown, Polk County Conservation natural resources specialist. “Yellow Banks seemed like an ideal place.”

The campsite is within 150 feet of the river and includes fire rings, picnic tables, and a shelter area. Reservations for this campsite will soon be available online through

The dedication will take place at 6 p.m. at the campsite. Robin Fortney, founder of Central Iowa Paddlers, will be leading a paddling excursion from Pleasant Hill Access (north side of river at Hwy. 65 and Vandalia Road) and arriving at the campsite in time for the dedication. If you are interested in floating this 4-mile stretch of the river, meet at the Pleasant Hill Access at 1 p.m. —you must have your own canoe or kayak.

“This is probably my favorite stretch of the water trail,” said Fortney. “It’s beyond the city limits and offers greater opportunities for wildlife viewing.”

“Primitive campsites accessible from the river are very popular amenities on our water trails,” said John Wenck, DNR river programs outreach coordinator. “It offers paddlers greater solitude and the opportunity for multi-day tripping without the need for daily shuttles.”

For more information on Iowa water trails, see

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Upcoming Park Programs on Iowa Public Television

In the spirit of the upcoming Ken Burns documentary, The National Parks: America's Best Idea, IPTV gave their first-ever 'Be more Awards' to three individuals who have been champions for Iowa Public Television and Iowa's natural resources.

On Wednesday evening, September 23, Former Congressman Neal Smith (Co-Chair of the Iowa Parks Foundation), Joe Crookham (President of the Iowa Parks Foundation) and Bob Jester (longtime Des Moines business leader and conservationist) were presented with the 'Be more Awards' by Dan Miller of IPTV. Following the presentation, we were entertained with a live closed circuit concert from Central Park in New York City.

Iowa Public Television is embracing the premiere broadcast of Ken Burns'
The National Parks: America's Best Idea by showcasing the wide variety of natural wonders all around us. Through these programs, Iowans will be exposed to the beauty and wonder of our natural heritage on the air, on the ground, and online.

These films are a human history set against the most stunning backdrop imaginable. These films works their way chronologically through the history of the national parks featuring characters -- some famous, most not, from every walk of life -- who dedicated their lives to insuring all could enjoy these places. These films also explore how the national park system came to be and examines some -- but not all --of how these majestic places came to be national parks.

Visit the Web Site

Iowa Parks Foundation is a proud local sponsor of The National Parks: America's Best Idea.

National Parks: America's Best Idea
The Scripture of Nature (1851-1890) (#101)
Sun, September 27, 2009 1:00 PM (IPTV)
Sun, September 27, 2009 7:00 PM (IPTV)
Sun, September 27, 2009 9:00 PM (IPTV)
Mon, September 28, 2009 7:00 AM (IPTV World)
Mon, September 28, 2009 1:00 PM (IPTV World)
In 1872, Congress acts to protect land that will become America's first national park, Yellowstone.
Watch Online Play Video

THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA'S BEST IDEA Schullery ... Historian Paul Schullery and former National Park Service director George Hartzog describe the power of the national parks.... 01:30 Play Video

THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA'S BEST IDEA Collecting ... Tuan Luong, a climber and photographer who was so captivated by the splendor of the national parks that he decided to continue ... 03:08 Play Video

THE NATIONAL PARKS Yosemite's Buffalo Soldiers ... Yosemite ranger Shelton Johnson and his rediscovered the story of the African American soldiers who patrolled the parks ... 11:31 Play Video

THE NATIONAL PARKS Mount Rushmore: Telling America's ... Focuses on the new interpretive program at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, spearheaded by Supt. Gerard Baker. 09:33 Play Video

THE NATIONAL PARKS Manzanar: "Never Again" ... Stories of Japanese internment during World War II, Sue Kunitomi Embrey's efforts to commemorate Manzanar internment camp, ... 14:21 Watch more video from this program »

Iowa's National Parks Stories

Thu, September 24, 10:30 PM on IPTV Television producer Dayton Duncan talks with Iowa Public Television about the history of National Parks and the making of the PBS documentary series. Also featured are stories about Iowans who helped create our National Park system: John F. Lacey and William T. Hornaday. Plus, a glimpse of a wild 1921 adventure when Clinton, Iowa, boy scouts drove model T's to Yellowstone
The story of Yellowstone's Old Faithful Lodge and Yosemite's luxurious Ahwahnee Hotel are detailed.

A close look at El Tovar in Grand Canyon National Park and Zion Lodge in Utah's Zion National Park.

Visit Death Valley's Furnace Creek Inn and the Lake Quinault Lodge in the Olympic National Forest.
Rocky Mountain National Park is just out your back door at the grand and graceful Stanley Hotel.
Wed, September 23, 8:00 PM on IPTV

Glacier Lodges (#103)
Glacier Park Lodge, Lake McDonald, Many Glacier Lodge and Sperry Chalet in Montana are showcased. Sun, September 27, 5:00 PM on IPTV

Pacific Northwest Lodges (#104)
Visit Paradise Inn in Mount Rainier National Park and Timberline Lodge on Oregon's Mount Hood.

In 1872, Congress acts to protect land that will become America's first national park, Yellowstone.

At the end of the 19th century a conservation movement takes shape to protect America's wilderness.

Established in 1916, the National Park Service protects the Grand Canyon from commercial interests.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

“Cedar Rock Under Moonlight”

Start fall off the “Wright way” with your family by enjoying the Harvest Moon at the Walter residence Cedar Rock. Our annual Under Moonlight event will be Saturday October 3rd from 6-9pm.

Spice up your weekend with a trolley ride and an after-hours tour of the estate and then enjoy a fireside snack. The Walter House is close to home and something everyone should take the opportunity to experience.

This beautiful home perches on the Wapsipinicon River and is created mainly from brick, concrete, and glass. The grounds include a Wright designed entrance gate, the Usonian home, a boathouse, and council fire area for outdoor entertaining. This evening is an opportunity for you to view the home and grounds at your own pace. It is also your only chance to experience the typically inaccessible maid’s quarters and boathouse. For this event there are not formal tours offered but our knowledgeable staff and volunteers will be available to answer any questions you may have as you meander through the park.

This is a fund-raiser for the Walter House. Visit us at 2611 Quasqueton Diagonal Blvd (Buchanan Co. Road W-35), Independence. This State Park is funded solely through the Walter Charitable Trust Fund. Donations are never required, but are needed and appreciated. A $3.00 donation
per adult will be graciously accepted. Photography is encouraged.

For more information call the visitor center at (319) 934-3572, or e-mail the park at

When: Saturday, October 3, 2009
6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Where: Cedar Rock State Park The Walter House
2611 Quasqueton Diagonal Blvd. Independence, IA 50644
319.934.3572 Quasqueton, Iowa

Cedar Rock the Walter House - Katie Karsten, assistant manager

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pine Creek Grist Mill Heritage Day - Wildcat Den State Park

Visitors to the Pine Creek Grist Mill Heritage Day will find several new additions to the annual celebration Saturday, Sept. 19.

Tom Hanifan, president of the Friends of the Mill, coordinators of the event, said new live demonstrations will include basket-making by a weaving team, lace- making, traditionally known as tatting, and an antique tractor display by residents from the Walnut Grove area near Eldridge.

A local wood carver has also volunteered to demonstrate his craft.

In addition to the traditional offering of homemade pies and ice cream, A Guy and a Grill of Muscatine will sell freshly grilled sandwiches.

Heritage Day is an annual fundraiser staged by the Friends of the Pine Creek Grist Mill. The non-profit group, which was formed in 1996, is dedicated to the restoration and preservation of the 162-year-old grist mill located at Wild Cat Den State Park.

All proceeds from the event go toward Mill-related work and preservation.

On Heritage Day, visitors can see the results of the group’s restoration efforts as the mill once again grinds corn.

Tom Hanifan, president of Friends of the Mill, said it is difficult to track the number of people who attend Heritage Day, but he estimates the count between 1,500 and 2,000.

The free event includes a free shuttle service between the Pine Creek Grist Mill and the Buckskinners’ Rendezvous, which is held throughout the weekend at the upper campground area of the park.

The Buckskinners will set up a temporary village, similar to the ones mountain men lived in during the Gold Rush-era.

The Friends of the Melpine Country School also helps organize the event. That group oversees the preservation of the 1877 one-room school house located near the Grist Mill. That historical site is also open for tours during Heritage Day.

Returning activities include canoe rides, music by the Port City Pearl Chapter of Sweet Adelines International and model steam engines.

Tin-type photographer Haven Noble of Mount Pleasant will also return this year.

Hanifan said Noble, a member of the Friends of the Mill, restored his Civil War-era camera and taught himself how to use it.

Noble uses the camera to take photos and develops them as Heritage Day visitors watch the process.


What: Pine Creek Grist Mill Heritage Day

When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19

Admission: Free

Where: Wild Cat Den State Park , located between Muscatine and Montpelier on Iowa Highway 22.

Contact: 563-263-4808

Information: The annual Buckskinner’s Rendezvous will be held Friday-Sunday, Sept. 18-20, in the upper deck of Wild Cat Den State Park. A free shuttle service is available between the Pine Creek Grist Mill and the Rendezvous sites.

Online at