Polk County Conservation

News Releases

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Fall Prescribed Burns in Polk County Parks

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Polk County Conservation uses prescribed fire as a management technique. Fire is an essential tool to help maintain the integrity of the native prairie and woodland plant species located in our parks. Fire is a natural occurrence that helps the plant and animal communities in a park and controlled burns offer a safer way to use fire in a helpful manner.

Fall burn plans have been completed and weather permitting burns will take place in woodlands, prairies and savannas in Beaver Creek Greeenbelt, Jester Park, Thomas Mitchell Park, Fort Des Moines Park, Easter Lake Park, Yellow Banks Park and Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt throughout November and December. Click on the parks mentioned above to view individual burn maps. Risk tree removal, proactive ash tree removal and invasive removal will also be taking place. 

Burns will be conducted when prevailing winds are forecasted to carry smoke away from sensitive areas (houses, animals, etc.).

Nature News Hot Off the Press!

Monday, November 13, 2017

The newest edition of Nature News is now available online!

Find out what is going on in your favorite park and what events and programs are taking place January through April 2018.

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: Chichaqua Bottoms Longhouse, Maxwell, Iowa

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 on November 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.

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