Polk County Conservation

Completed Projects

I. Land Acquisition

Yellow Banks Addition

A 22-acre addition to Yellow Banks Park was purchased to add additional wildlife habitat to the park and provide watershed protection for the Yellow Banks pond. Heavy erosion has adversely affected the water quality of this popular fishing spot. Smaller "upstream" wetlands will be developed and gully erosion sites eliminated in the near future. These coming developments will protect the work underway to restore and enhance the pond.

Beaver Creek Greenbelt Woodland Property

Twenty-six acres of land has been purchased at Beaver Creek Greenbelt along Highway 141. This riparian woodland area is a valuable wildlife habitat. Water quality improvements to Beaver Creek will begin with plans for bank stabilization.

Camp Creek Corridor Property

In partnership with Metro Waste Authority, 49 acres of land has been purchased on Camp Creek between Runnells and Mitchellville. This riparian corridor offers quality habitat and a great place for observing wildlife. Water quality improvements will occur as the stream bank is gradually stabilized. Future plans may involve constructing hiking trails through the area.

Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt "Shaw" Property

More than 311 acres of land at Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt has been purchased to complete a NE acquisition project that has been in progress since the early 2000s. This land will eventually be restored to prairie and wetland, benefit wildlife habitat, and serve as a prime site for a variety of environmental education initiatives.

Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt Wetland Property

More than 100 acres of land has been purchased at Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt running along Highway 65, northeast of the Skunk River. This former in-holding now serves as the site of the newly constructed wildlife viewing platform. The low, wet prairie area creates an opportunity for wetland restoration and quality wildlife habitat.

Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt former Mendenhall Property

Approximately 80 acres of former cropland has been added to Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt. This property is a mixture of sandy soil and former wetlands on the floodplain of the Skunk River. This "herptile friendly" property will supply excellent wildlife habitat once restored. The mixture of wetland and sandy upland will promote the diversification of reptile and amphibian populations as well as providing outstanding winter habitat for a wide range of species.

II. Trails

Gay Lea Wilson Trail Connection (Des Moines to Ankeny)

(click here for project flyer)

The connection between Ankeny and Des Moines is complete. A paved 2.5 mile segment of trail between 29th Avenue and Aurora Avenue adjacent to Four Mile Creek is now open. In conjunction with this trail construction, two lengths of the creek have been stabilized along the Four Mile Greenbelt.

Mark C. Ackelson Trail (click here for project flyer)

Phase I

Phase I of the Mark C. Ackelson/Easter Lake Trail is complete. The Trail now encompasses approximately 2 miles of paved trail construction on the south side of the park from Shelter #4 to Easter Lake Drive.

High Trestle Trail Oasis

Vault Toilet Addition

A CXT Vault Toilet was installed in June 2013. This vault toilet replaced portable toilets that have previously been on-site. It will be easier to clean, fully accessible, more vandal resistant, have much less odor and an extended life.

Great Western Trailhead

Vault Toilet Addition

A CXT Vault Toilet was installed in June 2013. This vault toilet replaced portable toilets that have previously been on-site. It will be easier to clean, fully accessible, more vandal resistant, have much less odor and an extended life.

III. Parks

Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt

Hwy 65 Wildlife Overlook

Thanks to a partnership with the Iowa DNR, the wildlife viewing platform has been constructed and is now open to the public. Spotting scopes have been installed, and the design of interpretive information is underway. Next spring, after the installation of this interpretive material, a grand opening will be held. Keep an eye on our website for when this will take place.

Marsh Pump Replacement

A new marsh pump was installed in the fall of 2013 to replace the non-functional system.

Easter Lake Park

Park Roads

Existing paved roads were in need of crack sealing or asphalt overlays to extend the life of the roads and provide safer travel conditions. Also, dust from gravel surfaced roads presented sanitary health issues, maintenance difficulties and mobility challenges for park visitors. Plans have been made to fix the problems on the north and south sides of Easter Lake Park. Asphalt overlay between shelters #3 and #4 has now been completed.

Vault Toilet Addition

A CXT vault toilet was installed in June 2013 near shelter #4. This new toilet facility replaced an aging restroom that was in need of replacement. It will be easier to clean, fully accessible, more vandal resistant, have much less odor and an extended life.

Rain Gardens

Rain gardens and biorention cells have been installed near parking lots to filter runoff before it enters the lake. For more information on rain gardens, check out our Rain Gardens page.

Jester Park

Discovery Pond (click here for project flyer)

Restoration work to the pond has been completed. Fish stocking has been completed. A .3 mile accessible trail around the pond has also been completed. It connects to the new fishing pier and canoe/kayak launch. A shed for rental equipment has also been built on this site.

Cabins (click here for project flyer)

Construction has been completed on the four modern cabins across from Discovery Pond at Jester Park. The larger cabin has two bedrooms and capacity to sleep eight people. The three smaller cabins have one bedroom and capacity to sleep six people. For further information and to make reservations, please visit mycountyparks.com

Jester Park Campground #2 Campsites Electric Upgrade (click here for project flyer)

Work has been completed on Campground #2. Jester Park’s electric sites are full most weekends, while many non-electric sites remain vacant. This newly renovated campground helps fill the the demand for electric camp sites throughout the park. These 28 sites have been converted to electric sites with 20, 30 and 50 amp service.

Maintenance Facility Relocation

Construction of the new equipment maintenance building is complete.  Building the new facility on the site of the old Jester Park Barn has consolidated all maintenance operations facilities in one spot near the existing park entrance. The former building near the golf course will be removed, and this site will eventually house the new Jester Park Conservation Center.

Thomas Mitchell Park (click here for project flyer)

Accessible Trail

An accessible trail that circles the pond and provides complete access to the site has been completed and is now open to the public. This new trail construction connects the accessible trail to the existing park trail system. Combined, these trails provide over three miles of recreational opportunities.

Park Features

The new crossing over Camp Creek, which provides separation between vehicular and pedestrian park users, has reached completion and is open.

Accessible fishing piers have been installed on the dam face, north bank and west side of the pond.

Limestone steps have been installed throughout Camp Creek to provide improved recreational access to the water.

Brown's Woods

Trailheads, Parking, & Trails

An alternative access route is available to Brown's Woods via the newly constructed Veteran's Parkway. A new parking lot has been installed, in cooperation with the City of West Des Moines, to handle vehicular and bus parking and provide safe access to Brown’s Woods. Expansion of the trails and connections throughout Brown's Woods provides visitors with improved access to the park.  

Fort Des Moines Park

Pond Restoration

Waterway stabilization, pond restoration, and enhanced fisheries health have been completed. These efforts have been realized in the visible improvement of water quality at the Fort Des Moines pond.

Yellow Banks Park

Dam Repair

Stabalization of the dam has been complete. The outlet and overflow structures have been replaced, and the top of the dam lowered eight feet so park users can gain improved access to the water. The water control structure has been closed to allow the pond to fill.

 

 

Contact Us

Administration Office
11407 NW Jester Park Drive
Granger, IA 50109

P: (515) 323-5300
F: (515) 323-5354
pccb_info@polkcountyiowa.gov

Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

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