Polk County Conservation's mission is to provide the citizens of Polk County with quality outdoor recreation, conservation education, and long term protection of Polk County’s natural heritage.
Explore more than 15,000 acres of prairies, wetlands, woodlands, trails, and parks! Located in the state’s most populated county, Polk County Conservation manages 22 parks, wildlife areas, and recreational trails.
Polk County Conservation offers the public year-round education and recreation programs, volunteer opportunities, and trips. Explore and learn about Iowa’s natural heritage at the Jester Park Nature Center, plan a family picnic, golf on an 18-hole championship course or miniature golf course, paddle down the river, reel in a trophy fish, ride horseback along Saylorville Lake, use public hunting areas, bike on multi-use trails, and more!
Polk County Conservation Board was created by the voters of Polk County in 1956 to acquire, develop, and maintain areas devoted to conservation and public recreation.
Based on the landmark 1955 County Conservation Law passed by the Iowa State Legislature, the 99 county conservation boards in Iowa have developed one of the most successful conservation programs in the United States. It is impossible to imagine what Polk County would be like without a Conservation Board.
80% of the funding for Polk County Conservation comes from Polk County, as allocated by the Polk County Board of Supervisors, with the remainder coming from user fees as well as state, federal, and private sources.
The board is governed by five members appointed by the Polk County Board of Supervisors. Its mission is to provide the citizens of Polk County with quality outdoor recreation, conservation education, and the long-term protection of Polk County’s natural heritage.
This effort is carried out by full-time and seasonal staff from the following units:
- Community Outreach
- Construction Maintenance Operations
- Environmental Education
- Equestrian Center
- Natural Resources
Members of the Polk County Conservation Board are appointed by the Polk County Board of Supervisors and meet on the second Wednesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. Board meetings, which are open to the public, are usually held at the Polk County Administration Building at 2nd Avenue and Court Avenue in Downtown Des Moines. During summer months, the Conservation Board meetings are sometimes held at park locations.
Current Board Members
- Lance Northway, Board Chair
- Jill Altringer, Vice-Chair
- Jim Cataldo, Secretary
- Ryan Crane