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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Two Great Water Trails Opening on June 19

Iowa River Greenbelt Water Trail Dedication

The 52-mile Iowa River Greenbelt Water Trail will be officially dedicated at 10 a.m. June 19, with the Steamboat Rock Portage dedication, followed by the Water Trail and Alden Portage ceremony. A public paddle from the Alden Portage to Weavers Cove will be at 2:30 p.m.

Following the paddle, participants are invited to the Calkins Nature Center for a watershed presentation and complementary meal. The presentation and meal will begin at 6:30 p.m. Participants are encouraged to bring their own canoe or kayak, although there will be a limited number of canoes and kayaks available to borrow. Contact Dave Sweeney - Southfork Watershed Alliance at dsweeney@iowatelecom.net or 641-373-4340 to reserve a canoe or kayak.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources, in addition to grants, supported the effort with guidance and advice from the DNR's River Programs team who worked with Hardin County Conservation and volunteer groups to ensure the river trail was developed according to DNR guidelines. The staff also provided physical labor for projects along the trail. The DNR's River Programs team constructed a new portage at the Steamboat Rock Dam in the fall of 2009 with final touches just being completed in the last few weeks.

"The Iowa River and its surrounding greenbelt have had a huge amount of support from the local communities over more than 60 years," said Nate Hoogeveen, River Programs coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. "In many ways, this water trails project is a culmination of several generations of conservation and recreation work along the Iowa River in Hardin County."

The dedication is hosted by the Iowa River Greenbelt Resource Trust, Hardin County Conservation, the Iowa DNR and the Southfork Watershed Alliance.

West Nishnabotna Water Trail Grand Opening

A grand opening of the West Nishnabotna Water Trail will be held on Saturday, June 19, with a ribbon cutting at 9 a.m., in the Iowa Edgington Memorial Park in Avoca. The grand opening is hosted by the Pottawattamie Conservation Board and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Water Trails program.

This day-long event will include a river race, kid's games, a public float and a canoe and kayak demonstration by the DNR's Water Trails team. Avoca mayor Scott Pigsley and Macedonia mayor Terry Pullen will be a few of the speakers at the ribbon cutting.

The West Nishnabotna Water Trail will be a 27 mile segment running from Avoca to Macedonia with access points along the route allowing paddlers to paddle just a section of their choice or the entire trail.

"The Nishnabotna is within a short drive of a huge number of people," said Nate Hoogeveen, with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources River Programs. "This river tells a great story of how a river that descends into poor quality can improve over time."

Go to Rubber Duck Outfitters for complete details and a schedule for the events.



video

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Winnebago Water Trail Designation Set for June 13

Join fellow paddlers for a community float down the Winnebago River from Ambroson Park near Leland to Pammel park in Forest City. You can bring your own canoe or rent a kayak from CrawDaddy's for $10. CrawDaddy's phone number is 319-352-9129 and five dollars of that rental fee will be donated back to the Forest City Streamkeepers. The float will begin at 2:00 PM and should last about 2 hours.

Beginning at 4:00 PM, there will be music and a bonfire at Pammel Park. You are also invited to bring along your bike and enjoy the Hynes Spur Bike Trail, play a game of frisbee golf or some other outdoor game, and pack a picnic supper to enjoy at the park.

At 7:00 PM, there will be an official ribbon-cutting to dedicate the Winnebago River Water Trail! We hope you can join us for this day of outdoor fun in Forest City!

The 27-mile Winnebago Water Trail will be dedicated at 7 p.m., June 13, by the
Winnebago County Conservation Board and the Iowa DNR. The water trail runs from Dahle Park just northwest of Lake Mills to Pammel Park in Forest City.

Paddlers will gather at 2 p.m. at the Ambroson Recreation Area, in Leland, and paddle 7 miles of the trail ending at Pammel Park. Pre-registration is required for this paddle event.

After the paddle, a bonfire, music, games and bike riding on the trails will take place at Pammel Park, in Forest City. Pack a picnic supper and take part in disc golf, horse shoes and other fun activities. The ceremony and dedication of the water trail will be at 7 p.m. in the park.

"The Winnebago's headwaters is in Winnebago County, and it will make a superb water trail for solitude and wildlife viewing experiences," said Nate Hoogeveen, director of River Programs for the Iowa DNR. "This is the first water trail we will designate that uses entirely local funds. We're happy to see the Forest City community touting all its virtues, and their connection of cycling and paddling sets an example I expect others will emulate."

Director of Winnebago Conservation, Robert Schwartz and Hoogeveen will be a few of the speakers that will help dedicate Iowa's newest water trail. For more information and to pre-register for the paddle portion of the event, visit
http://www.winnebagoccb.com/

Come join us as we dedicate the new Winnebago River Trail!

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Few Upcoming Events in the State Parks

80th Anniversary of the Dedication of Pine Lake
Sponsored by the Friends of Pine Lake
June 17, 2006, Pine Lake Lodge

The celebration will begin at 4 p.m. with a pictorial history of Pine Lake. The parks history will be presented with over 70 pictures beginning with the original Pine Creek to the present. There is also park memorabilia including an ice cream freezer used by the CCC and a water toboggan sled, both on loan from the Hardin County Historical Society.

The local Pork Producers will be on hand grilling their pork burgers. They will start serving at 5 p.m. Along with the sandwiches they will also be serving chips and cold drinks. There will be a charge for the meal.

At 6:30 p.m. a musical program will begin. The outdoor concert will be performed by area talent. Be sure to bring a blanket or lawn chair and come join the fun!

A Natural Blast – Party and Fund Raiser for Iowa’s Environment

Please join me on June 17 for A Natural Blast! This fundraiser for Iowa’s Environment will be an evening full of friends, fun, food, and festivities. There will be a silent auction and dinner starting at 5pm, followed by music by Cousin Eddie - a self described Country Blues band, they also play a little bit of everything including originals and crazy covers from The Gourd's, Danny Barnes, Old Crowe Medicine Show, Dylan, Dead and Stones. Will you join me?

The tickets are $25 and you can get yours by e-mailing iowaswaterandlandlegacy@gmail.com or call 515-707-0266. All proceeds benefit Iowa Environmental Council in partnership with Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy, a coalition of environmental groups working together to establish a trust fund for the protection of Iowa’s natural resources. You can learn more about the trust fund at http://www.iowaswaterandlandlegacy.org/home.aspx

The party is being held at the Izaak Walton League at 4343 George Flag Parkway in Des Moines.
Hope you can join me! It should be lots of fun and for a good cause, too.

Iowa Trails Summit
http://www.iowadot.gov/iowabikes/trailsummit.html

Friday, June 18: Some of Iowa’s leading experts on trail development and healthy communities share their ideas on the challenges and opportunities trail organizations face in the coming years. There will be four auditorium sessions with expert panelists moderated by leaders in the trails community. The panelists represent a cross section of professionals, and each will present an innovative and interesting view of issues important to the future of Iowa trails, as well as participate in question and answer sessions.

Participants may select one of the following registration options.
• Friday summit to be held at the University of Northern Iowa’s Lang Hall Auditorium in Cedar Falls from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; fee $25 ($30 after June 3)
• Friday summit and barbeque party at the Gateway Park in Cedar Falls (from 6 to 9 p.m.); fee $35 ($40 after June 3)
• Friday barbeque party only fee $10
Saturday, June 19: There will be a variety of outdoor recreation exhibits open to the public at Waterloo’s Riverview Recreation Area on Hawthorn Avenue from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. This will be an exciting day for the public to explore the wide range of trail recreation opportunities available, as well as a great chance to network with other trail users. Families are welcome. All events on Saturday are free, with food available for purchase.

Brushy Creek State Recreation Area - No Women Left Inside
When: Saturday, June 12, 2010
What: The Iowa DNR and Webster County Conservation are sponsoring the No Women Left Inside event. Great time to meet women with similar interests, learn new skills, enhance old ones and just enjoy the outdoors. Women ages 13 and older are invited to participate. Youth under 18 must have a parent present to participate. Contact Erin Ford at 515-576-4258 for more information.

Lake Anita State Park - Kids Fishing Day
When: Saturday, June 5, 2010, 10:00 am - noon
What: Program to learn about fish and fishing. An opportunity for all kids 0 to 16 to fish. All kids present will win prizes. Free lunch is provided.

A Natural Blast – Party and Fund Raiser for Iowa’s Environment

A Natural Blast – Party and Fund Raiser for Iowa’s Environment

Please join me on June 17 for A Natural Blast! This fundraiser for Iowa’s Environment
will be an evening full of friends, fun, food, and festivities.

There will be a silent auction and dinner starting at 5pm, followed by music by Cousin Eddie - a self described Country Blues band, they also play a little bit of everything including originals and crazy covers from The Gourd's, Danny Barnes, Old Crowe Medicine Show, Dylan, Dead and Stones. Will you join me?

The tickets are $25 and you can get yours from by e-mailing iowaswaterandlandlegacy@gmail.com or call 515-707-0266.


All proceeds benefit Iowa Environmental Council in partnership with Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy, a coalition of environmental groups that includes the Iowa Parks Foundation that are working together to establish a trust fund for the protection of Iowa’s natural resources. You can learn more about the trust fund at http://www.iowaswaterandlandlegacy.org/home.aspx

The party is being held at the
Izaak Walton League at 4343 George Flag Parkway in Des Moines.

Hope you can join me! It should be lots of fun and for a good cause, too.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Hike, Bike or Geocache in Parks

Hike, bike or geocache in parks
By MICHAEL MORAIN
mmorain@dmreg.com
May 30, 2010

Remember when you were a kid and all you had to do was go outside and play? Well, we can't kick you out of the house - we'll leave that to Mom and Dad - but we can give you a few ideas to explore. Here are four ways to see the state parks and three ways to poke around Polk County.

Iowa State Parks -

1. Bike the parks. If the
Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa sounds too daunting, take a day or two (or a leisurely three) and pedal any of four routes mapped out by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

• The 91-mile Central Iowa Route connects three state parks:
Big Creek (near Polk City), the Ledges (Boone) and Springbrook (west of Lake Panorama). It's mostly flat with just a few hills through the valleys of the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers.

• The 130-mile Northeast Iowa Route also connects three state parks:
Wapsipinicon (Anamosa), Backbone (Dundee) and Pikes Peak (McGregor). The route winds through Iowa's "Little Switzerland," so expect a few hills.

• The 46-mile Southeast Iowa Route connects
Lacey-Keosauqua State Park (Keosauqua) and Geode State Park (Burlington), with lots of hills and interrupted with stretches that are surprisingly flat.

• The 50-mile Lake to Lake route connects
Pine Lake State Park (Eldora) and George Wyth Memorial State Park (Waterloo) along the Iowa River valley.

Most of the routes run primarily along county highways, so expect to contend with vehicle traffic. Bikers can find lodging in towns along the way - some motels and B&Bs offer shuttle service for gear and luggage - or pitch a tent at park campsites.

2.
Go geocaching. As navigational gadgets catch on with more people, so does the
sport/hobby/obsession known as geocaching. Enthusiasts hide trinkets from public view in the hopes that others, equipped with GPS (global positioning system) devices, will find them and perhaps replace them with something new. The state issues permits to place geocaches in state parks, and the permits expire each year on March 31. Visit geocaching.com and www.earthcache.org.

3. Look for the history. The trails at
Wildcat Den State Park (near Muscatine) lead to some of the best-kept secrets in the state parks system, bureau chief Kevin Szcodronski said. In addition to colorfully named geologic features, including "Devil's Punch Bowl" and "Fat Man's Squeeze," the trails lead to an old one-room school house and the historic Pine Creek Grist Mill, which was built by one of Muscatine County's first white settlers in 1848. Visit www.pinecreekgristmill.com to see photos and a video.

For another history lesson, check out
Lewis and Clark State Park's "Best Friend," the full-size reproduction of the 55-foot keelboat "Discovery" that took the explorers up the Missouri River in 1804. The park near Onawa hosts its annual Lewis and Clark Festival from June 11 through 13.

4. Explore on foot. Northeast
Iowa's Yellow River State Forest (Harpers Ferry) offers some of the state's most remote hiking trails.

"The camping is rustic, the trails are rugged. It's our closest thing to a wilderness experience in Iowa - if you're into that and don't want to be pampered," Szcodronski said. Like other recreational land along the Mississippi River - including
Pikes Peak (McGregor), Mines of Spain (Dubuque) and Bellevue (Bellevue) - Yellow River is situated among eastern Iowa's hill country, offering scenic views of the area's rocky outcroppings.

Szcodronski recommended a similar trip through the less frequently visited parks in the southern part of the state, including
Lake of Three Fires (Bedford), Nine Eagles (Davis City), Red Haw (Chariton) and Waubonsie (Sidney).

Another cluster of possibilities beckons visitors to northwest Iowa's "Great Lakes" region, which includes Elinor Bedell (Spirit Lake), Emerson Bay and Gull Point (both near Milford), Fort Defiance (Estherville), Okamanpedan (Dolliver) and Pikes Point, Templar and Trapper's Bay (all three near Spirit Lake).

Polk County Conservation -

1. Hit the playground. The
Jester Park Natural Playscape, which opened last summer near Shelter No. 6, is a playground made from boulders, streams and other natural elements. A path winds through the area like in the Candy Land board game, but instead of Gumdrop Mountains or the Molasses Swamp, the real-life playground features the Tall Grass Tangle and the Archaelogical Dig, where visitors can paw around for fake fossils. For kids ages 5 and up. the park stretches from the Hwy. 17 bridge north of Granger to the Mile-Long Bridge over Saylorville Lake.

2. Go paddling. Canoes are available for rent, for $7 per hour, at
Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt, where visitors can paddle the old oxbow channels of the Skunk River along with otters, beavers, ducks, painted turtles and, of course, the river's namesake. The 6,500-acre wildlife area is about 20 minutes northeast of Des Moines. Call to reserve a canoe.

3. Tour on horseback. Polk County Conservation offers more than 100 programs, but the guided horseback tours in
Jester Park are among the most popular. Riders at least 8 years old can sign up for a 1-hour ride ($25) and hit the trails every Wednesday through Sunday through mid-October, weather permitting. Call for reservations.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Iowa Residents Enjoy Free Fishing Days June 4, 5 and 6

Iowa residents may fish for free on June 4, 5 and 6, when the Iowa Department of Natural Resources waives the requirement that anglers possess a valid fishing license while fishing. The free fishing weekend is for Iowa residents only and all other fishing laws are in effect.

"This first weekend in June is typically a great time to fish. Fish are usually close to shore and are willing to bite. It's a great time to take children fishing or to introduce someone new to fishing," said Joe Larscheid, chief of the
Iowa Department of Natural Resources fisheries bureau.
Fishing is an activity that can be done during any stage in life and is a great way to spend time together as a family.

"We want people to fish because it is a good, wholesome activity," Larscheid said. "If someone needs a little instruction, there are fun, hands-on fishing clinics available to teach parents or kids the basics of fishing."

A list of fishing clinics, derbies, and other fun events co-sponsored by the DNR are available on the
special events page. Log on to www.iowadnr.gov then click on Fish and Fishing then click on Classes and Clinics then Search for Events.

June 17 - Volunteers Needed for Trail-Building Day

A crew of volunteers will come together to clean up and blaze an interpretive pedestrian trail at Riverview Recreation Area in Waterloo on June 17. The trail-building and trash pickup will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

An interpretive pedestrian trail will be developed by clearing brush and linking together existing dirt paths. The trail will wind along recently restored wetlands, creating a scenic viewing area.

The trail will be featured at the
2010 Iowa Trails Summit Family Fun Day at Riverview Recreation Area on June 19. The Fun Day runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will feature paddling, hiking and biking, as well as horse demonstrations and interpretive trail walks, among other activities.

Volunteers will be in groups and people of all ages and fitness levels are welcome.

The project is being organized by the
Iowa DNR AmeriCorps Trails Program. It aims to promote citizen involvement and encourage the sharing of an area by numerous outdoor recreation groups.

Tools will be provided. Volunteers are advised to bring gloves and sturdy shoes.

For further information on these and other events visit: www.iowadot.gov/iowabikes