Polk County Conservation

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Now Accepting Applications for 2019 Advisory Committee

Monday, October 29, 2018

We are now accepting membership applications to be a part of the Polk County Conservation Advisory Committee. New members will begin their term in January of 2019.

Established in 2007, the committee’s goal is to provide professional feedback to Polk County Conservation staff and board members on various planning and programming issues. The committee is made up of approximately 25 members and meets 3 times per year. Members are asked to offer their ideas and professional expertise on discussion items, gather public perception on various topics, and conduct external research in order to accomplish committee goals.

If you are interested in serving on the Advisory Committee, please contact Kami Rankin at: 515.323.5363 or kami.rankin@polkcountyiowa.gov.

Easter Lake Park Updates

Monday, October 29, 2018

Beginning in July of 2013, the Easter Lake Watershed Project started taking on improvement projects to restore Easter Lake and improve water quality to make Easter Lake a sustainable resource providing diverse outdoor recreational activities for all visitors.

Throughout the Project’s life we have been working on completing projects as set by the Easter Lake Watershed Management plan while also taking on additional projects to reach our water quality goals. See below for what we have accomplished so far and where we are headed for the future.

Regular updates on individual projects will be added as more information is available.

Become a Friend of Jester Park

Monday, October 8, 2018

Friends of Jester Park is a collaborative program of Polk County Conservation and the Great Outdoors Foundation that provides more opportunities for outdoor fun and nature adventures — including exclusive members-only experiences, discounts, access to insider “secrets,” and tips to make the most of your Jester Park outings.

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

Become a Friend!
View Brochure Here

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

Individual | $25 Annual

Family (Immediate) | $100 Annual

$1,000 + Annual | Corporate – Related Only

Individual or Couple | $100 Annual

Individual or Couple | $1,000 One-Time Gift

Water Shut Off in Parks and Campgrounds

Monday, October 8, 2018


Water in the campgrounds and parks will be shut off the week of November 5th due to upcoming low temperatures. Campgrounds are closed from December 1 - March 31 (except to walk-in tent camping, which is allowed year-round).

Park and Trail Closures

Thursday, June 21, 2018

*November 6, 2018 UPDATE*

The following trails, campgrounds, and areas within Polk County Conservation parks and trails have been closed or are currently affected:

Jester Park
  • Campground #2
  • Campground #3
  • Interior park boat ramp
  • Mile Long (Lincoln Access) boat ramp
  • Campground #6
Yellow Banks Parks
  • Boat ramp
Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt
  • Electric campground
  • Canoe rentals closed for the remainder of the season
    Trestle to Trestle Trail @ Lower Beaver

    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.

    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
    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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