Polk County Conservation

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Nature News Hot off the Press

Thursday, December 5, 2019

The January - April 2020 Nature News has arrived! Inside you will find a complete list of our events and programs from environmental education, recreation and wellness, to volunteer opportunities from January - April.

Pick up a copy at the Jester Park Nature Center or view the digital version here.

Great Western Trail Drainage Repairs

Friday, November 15, 2019

Great Western Trail repairs will continue into December at Willow Creek Golf Course.  Drainage improvements are being made along the edge of the trail and two culverts are being added under the trail. Stone edging along the trail will be added when ditch excavation is completed. The trail is icy and muddy in the area of work. Bikes should not be ridden in the area and care should be taken even when walking. Please use caution and stay away from equipment working on the trail.  

Vegetation Removal in Easter Lake

Thursday, October 17, 2019

The in-lake vegetation clearing in Easter Lake is currently underway. Vegetation will be cut 5’ below the water surface.  

Trestle to Trestle Trail Re-Route & Bridge Reconstruction

Monday, August 26, 2019

In the spring of 2019, the bridge over Beaver Creek along the Trestle to Trestle Trail collapsed. Designs for the new Trestle to Trestle bridge can be found HERE.


January 2020- Bid letting for new bridge                                             

Spring 2020- Start of construction                                                 

Fall/Winter 2020- Substantial completion                                             

Spring 2021- Final Completion


A reroute along the trail has been established. Please see the map reroute for the Trestle to Trestle Trail here.

Become a Friend of PCC Parks!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Love your local Polk County Conservation Park? Show your support and benefit from a yearly membership! Friends of Jester Park and Friends of Easter Lake Park are a collaborative program of Polk County Conservation and the Great Outdoors Foundation that provides more opportunities for outdoor fun and adventures!

Benefits Include:
  • Exclusive Members-Only Events & Programs
  • Members-Only Birthday Parties
  • Outdoor Equipment Rental Discounts
  • Yearly Gift of Local Nature-Inspired Art
  • Discounts on Reservable Campsites & Designated Fee-Based Programs (At ALL Polk County Conservation Parks)
  • And more!

Your membership support provides supplemental funds needed for operations to keep our parks beautiful and enhance conservation and outdoor recreation programming.

Choose the annual membership level that fits the outdoor memories you want to create:

• Nature Lover - Individual | $25
Outdoors Family - Family (Immediate) | $100
• Trailblazer - Individual/Couple | $100
• Pathfinder - Individual/Couple | $1,000 (One-Time Gift)
• Business - Corporate Only | $1,000 + Annual

*All membership fees are tax-deductible in accordance with Iowa laws.

Become a Friend today!

Jester _Park _Color -01Easter _Lake _Logo _Wide

Mark C. Ackelson Trail Bridge Plaques

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Pedestrian Bridge (1)

The 6.2-mile Mark C. Ackelson Trail winding around Easter Lake provides an ideal place for outdoor recreation and scenic views for park visitors. Cycling, skating and hiking opportunities along the trail lie adjacent to playground equipment, fishing piers, a boat ramp, and several picnic areas. Parking and trail access is available from any of the shelters and parking lots located throughout Easter Lake Park as well as at the beach. The north side of the trail is accessible from Ewing Park.

The trail will have many bridges, but the one that will be remembered by trail users is the new 440’ bridge that spans the western arm of the lake. This multiple span bridge mirrors the bow-string design concept of the other bridges on the trail, but the two twin piers with observation bump-outs will make the already scenic bridge an enjoyable spot to pause and enjoy the quiet beauty of Easter Lake.

The trail’s namesake, Mark C. Ackelson, served as President of the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF) for 18 years where he provided leadership in several conservation efforts. Ackelson’s devoted passion for land, water, and wildlife served in helping INHF to protect and restore 145,000 acres of Iowa’s natural areas. Additionally, he spearheaded efforts to establish hundreds of miles of trails in an effort to support local trailside communities and get Iowans outdoors.

Along the railing of the pedestrian bridge, individual bridge plaque sponsors are recognized with a plaque bearing their name or company name, friend or loved ones’ name(s).

  • A $125 - $130 donation entitles you to a plaque until all spaces have been sold.
  • Each plaque is an engraved aluminum with satin brush finish measuring 4”w x 2¼” h.
  • Sponsors may include up to two lines of text with 17 characters each, including spaces, for a total of 34 characters per plaque.
  • An additional line at the top of the plaque, reading — In Memory of — may be added upon request at no charge.


1) Download, print and complete the Bridge Plaque Request Form from HERE. Write the text exactly as you would like it to appear on the Mark C. Ackelson Bridge. Mail the form, along with your check for $125, to:

Great Outdoors Foundation,
PO Box 8071, Des Moines, IA 50301

2) OR... order plaques for the cost of $130 online HERE

QUESTIONS, please call: (515) 323-5300

Your gift is tax deductible according to current tax law. Your donation confirmation email should be used as your tax deductible receipt.

Contact Us

Administration Office
12130 NW 128th St
Granger, IA 50109

P: (515) 323-5300
F: (515) 323-5354

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

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