Relying on Nature Through Polk County Conservation

Published 3/31/2020 12:37:42 PM

March 31, 2020

While the way we interact with others may be a little different right now in our world, the importance of getting outdoors and interacting with nature remains the same. Let nature become your refuge during this difficult time.

Polk County Conservation believes that our parks, trails, and open spaces can continue to be used in a safe manner that allows people to enjoy the mental and physical health benefits these spaces provide. Below are a few different ways that you can get out of your house while still practicing social distancing recommendations.

  • Trail Exploration - You will find approximately 50 miles of nature trails in our parks that are great for hiking, birding and wildlife watching, and mushroom hunting. We also offer similar mileage of multi-use paved trails that are great for biking, walking/jogging.
  • Golf - Operations on the regulation course, Par 3 course, and practice facility are continuing in a modified manner. The Clubhouse is not open for indoor seating. Business transactions can still be made and carry-out food is available. Flags should not be removed and foam inserts have been installed in the cups. Players can request individual golf carts, unless they are golfing with a family member. Heightened cleaning measures are in place for golf carts and restrooms.
  • Volunteer - Every spring brings about a need in all of our parks to remove sticks and limbs in our mowed areas. We invite individuals and families to visit your favorite park and simply drag or throw these sticks/limbs into the nearest wooded area. This can also be done on any of our hiking trails. Spring also brings about an invasive plant species called garlic mustard. By pulling this plant before it goes to seed, we can stop its harmful spread. If you would like to pull garlic mustard or find other ways to give back, email Pat Spain at or Melissa Schmeling-Dempsey at and they will find the right project for you.
  • Educate Yourself - Scattered throughout most of our parks are interpretive signage that will teach you about woodlands, wetlands, prairie, wildlife, history and other nature topics. Use these signs as a way to do some remote learning. Our Facebook pages will also provide families with scavenger hunts and other educational activities that can be done in our parks or at home. Educational YouTube videos are also available through the Polk County Conservation channel.

In all of our parks and trails, we recommend that you follow local and state ordinances and guidelines regarding the use of these spaces. Please do your part to use them in a way that respects each other and public health guidance. Polk County Conservation will be updating our website and Facebook page regularly as new recommendations are brought forward by Polk County and the State of Iowa.