Polk County Conservation

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Cross-Country Ski & Snowshoe Rentals at Jester Park

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Skis and snowshoes will only be rented if there is at least 4 inches of snow on the ground.

Snowshoe, cross-country skis, boots and poles are available for rental at Jester Park at the Polk County Conservation office.

Equipment can be reserved in advance by calling (515) 323-5339 at Jester Park during normal business hours:

Monday - Friday | 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

  • Snowshoes: $10/day
  • Cross-Country Skis, Boots & Poles: $10/day

Cross-Country Ski Rentals

Cross-country ski rentals are available at Jester Park at the Polk County Conservation admin office. Cross-country skis are sized mainly for adults.

Skis and snowshoes will only be rented if there is at least 4 inches of snow on the ground.

Hours and Rates
  • Equipment can be reserved in advance by calling (515) 323-5339
  • Equipment must be picked up and dropped off at Jester Park during normal business hours, Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. 

Skis, boots, poles: $10/day

Trail Conditions

Trail conditions can be found on the Des Moines Nordic Club's Facebook page

Rentals Also Available

Cross-country Ski rentals are also available from the following local stores:

Snowshoe Rentals

Snowshoe rentals are available at Jester Park at the Polk County Conservation admin office. The snowshoes are sized for kids and adults, with a weight range of 40-250 pounds.  

Skis and snowshoes will only be rented if there is at least 4 inches of snow on the ground.

Hours and Rates
  • Equipment can be reserved in advance by calling (515) 323-5339
  • Equipment must be picked up and dropped off at Jester Park during normal business hours, Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. 

Snowshoe Rental (snowshoes only): $10/day

Rentals Also Available

Snowshoe rentals are also available from the following:

Des Moines Parks and Recreation | Snowshoes are located at the Richard A Clark Municipal Service Center. 1551 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, Des Moines, IA 50317. For more information, please call 515-248-6369.

Mark C. Ackelson Trail Bridge Plaques

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Easter -lake1

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.

National Wild Turkey Federation: Connecting Individuals to the Outdoors

Monday, November 6, 2017

This yearlong program is designed to create a community and support group, where individuals can engage with and learn from experienced hunting mentors in a safe, low-stress environment. Inexperienced participants are encouraged and welcome!

Date: Saturday, January 20, 2018
Time: 9 a.m.
Location: Sportsman's Warehouse
921 SE Oralabor Rd, Ankeny, Iowa 50021

How Do I Sign Up? 
  • No experience necessary.
  • Must sign up by January 8, 2018.
  • Interested participants (age 18+) must complete the online hunter education course. 
  • Registration fee of $135 will cover required license and include a membership to the NWTF.
  • Find information and application at www.ianwtf.org; NWTF Iowa Connecting Individuals to the Outdoors (CITO) Facebook page.
What Can I Expect?
  • Firearm Safety
  • Introduction to Wildlife and Habitat Essentials to Hunting Gear & Clothing
  • Scouting Trips
  • What to Do When Harvested
  • Wild Game Cooking Tips
  • Fishing
  • Range Days
  • Turkey, Deer, Pheasant & Duck Hunting
  • And More! 
View 2018 Cirriculum Here.
Download the Application Here. 

For More Information Contact:

Dan Fitzgerald, CITO Polk County Coordinator
515-864-8235 | fitzgeraldar@hotmail.com

Jester Park Golf Course Updates Begin Nov. 1

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Polk County Conservation and C-Corporation will soon invest $3.5 million dollars into the Jester Park Golf Course. Plans include replacement of the aging irrigation system, renovations to #11 and #17 holes, and expansion of the clubhouse. Due to these planned capital improvements, Jester Park Golf Course will be closing for the season on Sunday, October 29, 2017, so work can begin in earnest.

Midwest Irrigation was awarded the golf course renovation contract. Architectural firm, Studio Melee, is finalizing the clubhouse renovation design plans which includes indoor seating for 145 people, a full-service kitchen, and renovated restrooms.

Jester Golf Course _Entry (1)Main Entrance

Jester Golf Course _PatioPatio

Jester Golf Course _ScupperBackside of the Clubhouse 

Jester Golf Course LL PLANLower Level Plan

Jester Golf Course ML PLANUpper Level Plan

Other improvements include installation of an 18-hole miniature golf course that will be located along NW 118th Avenue just west of the Driving Range building. C-Corporation which currently manages the City of Des Moines public golf courses (Blank, Bright/Grandview and Waveland) will take over management and maintenance of the course on November 1, 2017.  This project is being fully funded by C-Corporation.

One of the benefits going into the 2018 golf season, besides the capital renovations, is that Season Golf Passes will be honored at Jester Park and the three City of Des Moines golf courses.  Season pass rates and cart fees will remain the same and staff is recommending that greens fees be increased by $1.00 across the board as fees have not been adjusted since 2014.

We look forward to serving you and are excited to showcase the improvements to Jester Park Golf Course and Learning Center.  If you would like more information about the golf course renovations, please contact Deputy Director, Doug Romig at doug.romig@polkcountyiowa.gov or (515) 323-5355.


Easter Lake Park Capital Project Update

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Easter Lake Park

Capital Project Update

The Easter Lake renovation is making progress toward our common goal.  It is a complicated project involving but not limited to restoring the watershed, cleaning up the lake waters, renovating the fishery, and making multiple improvements to the park including a multi-use trail, sediment basins, shoreline restoration, boat ramp rebuild, invasive species control, dam infrastructure repair, and replacement of the bridge and Evergreen Avenue on the dam. Additionally, the feasibility of a Lodge facility is also being explored.

As with any multi-year, multi-objective project there are certain actions that have to take place before others can proceed. There are periods of time when the public doesn't see much progress happening such as this summer. In order to do much of the on-shore work, such as the new trail segments and bridge and road replacement, the lakebed needed to be dry so it could be accessed with heavy equipment. This drying process took place throughout most of 2017. 

The last phase of the Easter Lake renovation project includes additional in-lake dredging from shallow and inaccessible areas, reconstruction of the shoreline, fish habitat installation, and the completion of final phase of the Mark C. Ackelson Trail which includes a 445-foot long bridge across the west arm of the lake. This work will begin this winter and extend through the fall of 2018. Water will begin refilling the lake by the end of 2018.

By the spring of 2019, Easter Lake Park will feature a 6.2-mile trail that circles the lake and a newly renovated 172-acre healthy lake that will provide scenic views, habitat for wildlife, and a hub for many outdoor recreation activities such as boating, paddling, fishing, and swimming.

Click here for an updated restoration timeline.

Contact Us

Administration Office
11407 NW Jester Park Drive
Granger, IA 50109

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

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

More Contacts