Polk County Conservation

News Releases

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Gravel Park Roads Closed Due to Wet Conditions

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

*January 8, 2019 UPDATE*

Polk County Conservation gravel park roads are temporarily closed due to wet and muddy conditions. These areas will re-open when the ground re-freezes.

Near Jester Park, the Lincoln Access Boat Ramp road is also closed until the ground re-freezes.

Jester Park Nature Center Facility Rentals

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Looking for a venue for your next corporate or personal event in a beautiful park setting? Consider the Jester Park Nature Center in Granger, Iowa! The Jester Park Nature Center is an eco-conscience building immersed in prairie and surrounded by woodlands. The nature center offers many different areas of the building for your next event.

Rental reservations are now being accepted as of January 2, 2019. Reservations can only be made six months prior to the reservation date.

View Rental Contract and Application Form here. 

*Application forms may be e-mailed, faxed, or mailed. However, payments for reservations cannot be accepted via e-mail. To pay with a credit card, please call (515) 323-5317 between 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Monday - Friday).

For hours of operation, fees, and more visit the Jester Park Nature Center's website here.

National Wild Turkey Federation: Connecting Individuals to the Outdoors

Monday, December 10, 2018

This year-long partnership 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 welcomed! Last day to register is January 19, 2019.

Date: Saturday, January 26, 2019
Time: 9 a.m.
Location: Sportsman’s Warehouse, Ankeny, Iowa

  • No experience needed!
  • Interested participants (age 18+) must complete online hunter education.
  • Registration fee of $150 will cover required licenses and includes a membership to the NWTF.
  • Apply here.
  • Firearm safety
  • Introduction to wildlife and habitat essentials, hunting gear, and clothing
  • Scouting tips
  • What to do when harvested
  • Wild game cooking tips
  • Fishing
  • Range days
  • Turkey, deer, pheasant, duck hunting and much more!
  • View the 2019 curriculum here


Nature News Hot Off the Press!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Capture (2)

The January - April 2019 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.

If you would like to receive a copy of our Nature News publication 3x a year for FREE, call us at (515) 323-5300 or send an e-mail to pccb_info@polkcountyiowa.gov with the subject line: Nature News Publication New Address. Or pick up a copy at the Jester Park Nature Center. 

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!

Friends of Jester Park benefits include exclusive members-only events and programs, equipment rental discounts, a yearly gift of local nature-inspired art, discounts on reserveable campsites and designated fee-based programs, 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

Park and Trail Closures

Thursday, June 21, 2018

*November 26, 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
  • 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
    Gay Lea Wilson Trail- South of Broadway- Closed through December 7th

    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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